In this episode of the RavenCast, I discuss Advent as political protest. Advent means “coming” and during the Advent season Christians await the coming of Jesus at Christmas. But Advent was originally a festival of the Roman Empire that celebrated the coming of Caesar Augustus as the divine savior of the world, who brought peace through violent conquest. When Christians use the term Advent, we subvert the violent ways of Caesar Augustus by proclaiming that Jesus, and his way of nonviolent love, is the true savior of the world.
- Advent means “coming.” It’s the season that occurs during the four weeks before Christmas that anticipates the coming of Christ.
- But, in the first century, Advent was a festival that celebrated the coming of Caesar Augustus (For more on the Roman Empire and Advent, see Ethelbert Stauffer’s book, Christ and the Caesars and Rob Bell’s video “The Advent of Caesar.”)
- Christian Advent season is awaiting the One who shows us the altnernative to the ways of the Roman Empire, the ways of peace through violence.
- The early Christians subverted the ways of Rome in the most subversive way possible: not through more violence, but through nonviolence and love.
- The four Gospel readings during Advent are reveal the alternative to the ways of violence by showing us the ways of peace.
- The second week of advent we read John the Baptists alternative to the violence of the world, which is to share our clothing, food, lives with others and to trust that we have enough.
- The last week of Advent we read Mary’s Magnificat, which is a song about political revolution. It’s holy political protest
- Advent awaits the one who saves the world not through more violence, but through love and forgiveness and nonviolence.
- Jesus as the king of the world, sat on his throne, a cross, and pronounced judgement on the world. That judgement was forgiveness. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
- That radical and universal forgiveness is the gift that God offers to all humans, “all flesh.” Are we able to receive that gift? Or will we be resentful that even our enemies are offered that gift?
- During Advent, we prepare the way of the Lord – Jesus – and that preparation involves receiving and participating in his radical forgiveness.
- The United States largely believes that the way to peace is the way of Caesar Augustus, the way of violence and military strength. The United States believes more in Caesar Augustus than we do in Jesus the Christ.
- The United States is the greatest military superpower the world has ever seen. We spend more on our military than the next seven nations combined. And yet we still don’t feel safe. Why? Because violence doesn’t bring peace, safety, and security. It just brings more violence.
- In the spirit of John the Baptist, Jean-Michel Oughourlian says in his book Psychopolitics that the way to peace is by sharing what we have. “Instead of spending astronomical sums on arms, let us spend instead on roads, hospitals, schools, houses, businesses, to create jobs and so on. Instead of financing war, let us purchase peace” (pg. 23).
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