And so, the cycle of the year begins again, but with a different perspective. This year the Gospel of Mark (with some input, as usual, from John) gives us the frame through which to view the story of Jesus and its implications for our lives. Advent Sunday always draws our attention to the apocalyptic sayings of Jesus, and the vision he gives of God’s presence breaking into the world of human affairs. As we begin the journey through the life of Jesus, which will fill our worship for the next half a year, we start with God’s hope-filled end in mind. We are reminded that our world is not random, and that the cosmos is moving toward a future of restoration, wholeness and unity in Christ. We are reminded that even in the midst of the world’s turmoil God is at work, and God’s glorious presence is always breaking into our lives.

But, the purpose of the Bible’s prophetic writing is not so much to focus our energy on a future life of bliss and glory. It is to allow our future hope to change how we live and work in our world today. When we realise that God’s dream of wholeness and unity for the cosmos is being worked out in our own time, and in our own lives, it changes how we think, how we interact with others, and how we live. It gives our lives meaning, because we recognise that we are participants in God’s mission. Like those who came before us, and those who come after us, we just have to watch for God’s presence and follow God’s directions, and we will add our small contribution to the great movement of God’s Reign in the world.

This week we reflect on the meaning of Advent, and how we can be more alert to the signs of God’s presence and mission among us.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.