"Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen"
~ Revelation 1:7
This morning I woke up thinking about the words that I will be sharing during worship today. It's the beginning of another Advent, and I discover that I am still waiting and watching.
The husband of one of my hospice patients believes that he will see the return of Christ in his lifetime. The ninety-seven-year-old man always smiles when he shares this with me, and often, the smile will bring a welling of tears to his eyes, and he will often look upward.
This morning's text tells of the return of Christ as being found among the clouds.
I remember laying on the hillside just beyond our pond as a child, and staring at the clouds, often with my stepbrother, Jimmy. We would watch and wait for shapes to form, and then ask one another if we could see the same thing. Dragons, dogs, and the occasional eagle would appear. The locusts would sing their summer song, and often we would drift away like the shape that once held our attention.
I have realized that as I have grown older that the second coming will need to be big and loud. The world hardly recognized the small child that was born in seclusion. Well, there were those angels, shepherds, a few wise men, and star, but for the most part, Jesus comes into the world through the birth by a young Hebrew girl, in the darkness of stable. The return of Jesus will come on the clouds and we are told to be "ready."
I will admit, there are many things that I have encountered in my life, that when I look back I realize just how unprepared I would have been had the second coming happened. When I fail to stop and help the stranger, or when I abandon the opportunity to give rather than receive. When I look at my closet of clothes and realize the multiples I have of "things," and I talk about what I have, rather than what I could share.
There are too many times, and that does not include the moments when my mind is focused on some goal of my own making, rather than listen to the still small voice offering another way.
No, Jesus will have to arrive in a way that the world has to stop and take notice. The small flicker of a candle cannot compete with the latest LED strobe that spells out words across the sky.
I think in many ways I'm glad it will be bold, because even for many of us who claim to be Christian, we don't know how to be bold for a God who expects us to love one another unconditionally. Instead of allowing for judgement by a Divine being, many Christians today would rather point their fingers at those who don't measure up to what their own God of their making expects. No, for me, Jesus in the clouds finds me once again on a hillside in my mind and being amazed to proclaim, "Look, I see Jesus!"
May we all on this first Sunday of Advent find us living in hope of the One who will return on the clouds!
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.