Hope — the Promise of Paradox!

Luke 21:25-36 New International Version

What a strange and despairing moment in the text as we enter a time of preparation and anticipation of a blessed Savior called Advent.  Did someone make a mistake with this week’s lectionary reading?  Well it’s tempting to skip over this seemingly “doom and gloom” moment and move to a Scripture that is more pleasing to the ear.

However, we live in a world of paradox.  I suggest that the Christian faith is paradoxical a “both/and” when we want to make it an “either/or” faith journey.  Luke writes to challenge perspective of those reading this passage.  Be reminded that during the birth of Jesus, Jerusalem was surrounded by armies and warring.  Judgment, terrors and signs of the end times existed then and now.  The country is polarized, often reflecting either/or logic: “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

So paradoxical moments offer the promise of an anticipated hope.  Jesus was a baby and a Savior, delivered against an anticipated hope.  Pay attention to the signs of the times because we are in the midst of an “and/both” season!

 Suffering and Comfort!
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.  On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.  People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”   Luke 21:25-28

Near and Not Yet!
He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees.  When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”   Luke 21:29-33

Pray and Stand!
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth.  Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”   Luke 21:34-36

W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Remain hopeful because God’s kingdom is already, but not yet here!”

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