… then, suddenly, violence and judgment can sweep you away.


“Therefore you must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

The Advent season doesn’t begin with the idyllic imagery of shepherds and stars. It begins in darkness, in the thickness of human violence and judgment. Instead of awaiting Jesus’ birth, we hear a pre-crucified Jesus warn his disciples to watch for his second coming “at the end of the age.” 

Jesus says he can’t give an exact time, but he urges them to “stay awake.” “For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

Jesus, did you even read the story of Noah? It wasn’t just that they were doing ordinary things. The whole world was flooded with violence. Is that what it will be like when you return?

Maybe. Maybe the point is that even with floods of violence, people didn’t notice. People were apathetic to the violence surrounding them and went about their daily lives. Maybe they even participated in the violence. You can’t really sleep through a fist fight, but you can become desensitized to the insults you give, the over-and-againstness you get caught up in. Violence and dehumanization can swirl around you when you live in a cocoon of privilege or apathy.

And then, suddenly, violence and judgment can sweep you away. Living in a world flooded by but numb to violence, you could suddenly be struck and never know what hit you.

Keeping awake means we don’t let ourselves become apathetic. We remember that the ordinary isn’t so ordinary, because we have the opportunity — the calling — to see Christ in everyone we meet. 

We should look to find Jesus in the ordinary and the lowly, because that’s how he came to us the first time. And that’s how he’s still with us today. Maybe when we stay awake, we won’t look through the eyes of judgment, and that in itself will help make the world a less violent place. Maybe that will help transform it into God’s kingdom, where we will see Jesus everywhere because he’ll live fully in all of us.

Also, Adam and Lindsey debunk some rapture theology. 


The Olive

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