Read 2 Peter 3:8-15a

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

 

from Rev. Dr. Gregory Widener

Huntington, WV

I used to think that it was weird that just as we began the Advent season before Christmas, the lectionary always wants to talk about the second coming of Jesus. But in a way, this arrangement of scriptures makes sense. The key idea here is “wait.”   In fact, we should note that faithful believers in God have been waiting in some form or fashion for God’s appearance throughout most of recorded human history. Abraham lived about 2,000 years before Jesus, and now we live about 2,000 years after Jesus, and except for a brief interval when Jesus walked on this earth, all Jews and Christians have been waiting on God all of our lives.

This Petrine passage assures us that God’s timing is not human timing (“A thousand years are like one day”), and in this modern era of instant gratification, waiting is a hard lesson to learn. I started talking about teaching preaching when I was 25 years old, and I had to wait until I was 52 in order to do it. I thought that was a long wait! I am presently waiting for a call of God in my life right now and I am impatient because I don’t like to wait. But God’s timing is always the right timing and we have to learn to trust in that fact.

While we wait, we are to live lives of “holiness and godliness.” Now the life of holiness is a very difficult task, and I don’t know about you but I have to work real hard at it. So now I have lots to do while I wait! This Advent season, let us look forward to the second coming of Jesus, and let us be at work getting ready for it.

O God who is outside of time,

help us to see this world from your perspective,

rather than our own. Amen.

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