We have just celebrated the feast of Christ the King. We have marked the feast wherein we celebrate who is ruler of our hearts and minds. The feast mark’s the life of a King who offers a new image of power and authority. We celebrate the fact that our King set the old world order on its head. This is a King who modelled servanthood instead of authority. This is a King who instead of calling his people to be subjects, calls them to be his hands and his feet. This is a King who calls for peace in the face of violence. This is a King who demands that we love, forgive and live in hope. This is a King who does not send others to die for him. Instead, this is a King who is prepared to die his followers. This King sets into motion a movement and a way of life.
The Feast of the Reign of Christ is the last day of the church’s liturgical calendar. Next Sunday will be the first Sunday of Advent. Now we begin a season in the church when we try and embrace expectation as a part of our spiritual journey. Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote that “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes… and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” Advent is for us a time when we wait for the coming of the One who frees us from sin. We long for the One who releases us from the bondage of judgement and insecurity. In the weeks ahead we pray about what our prisons might be.
From which cell do we wait with longing hearts for God to set us free? Those cold rooms of solitude may be loneliness, despair, addiction, insecurity, abusiveness, judgement, lack of faith, broken relationships, illness of mind or body, and the list could go on. When we are imprisoned by anything we often do not realize that there is a Loving Warden waiting to set us free. We can become idle and lose patience with the lack of change. Henri Nouwen writes that “If we do not wait patiently in expectation for God’s coming in glory; we start wandering around, going from one little sensation to another. Our lives get stuffed with newspaper items, television stories, and gossip. Then our minds lose the discipline of discerning between what leads us closer to God and what doesn’t, and our hearts gradually lose their spiritual sensitivity.”
This Advent season we seek the courage to ask ourselves:
- What imprisons me?
- Can I focus on the promise that God will come and deliver me?
- What in my life is drawing me closer to God?
- What in my life is dragging me away from God?
We can take heart and know that we can ask these questions secure in the knowledge that God loves us so completely and so fully that perfection is not necessary. Ours is a God who will rise up the valleys and lower the hills. Jesus, the one for whom we wait, can make all things new.
Come O Lord and set us free!