This morning, the first Sunday of Advent, I’m reminded that the Advent season is preparing to celebrate Christ’s Incarnation by anticipating his future Appearing as Judge, bringing God’s restorative justice to the world.
While not speaking on the Advent season specifically, NT Wright, in Evil and the Justice of God, speaks about the individual’s Christian’s role of bringing God’s future New Creation into the present through the demanding task of “forgiving one another.” His words, linked with the poem, “Go,” that I posted about yesterday, form some great reflective material for the Advent season:
“The command to forgive one another, then, is the command to bring into the present what we are promised for the future, namely the fact that in God’s new world all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. It will still be possible for people to refuse forgiveness — both to give it and receive it — but they will no longer have the right or the opportunity thereby to hold God and God’s future world to ransom, to make the moral universe rotate around the fulcrum of their own sulk. And, as with all attempts to bring elements of God’s future world into the present one, the only way is through the appropriate spiritual disciplines. It doesn’t ‘just happen.’ None of us does it, as we say, ‘by nature.’ We need to learn how to do it; and it’s all the more difficult because the church has not been teaching us this lesson. This is where we need to understand, better than we usually have, the biblical account of inaugurated eschatology, of living in the present in the light of the future. Understanding this is difficult to begin with, but it gets easier as you try. Living by it likewise requires hard work: prayer, thought, moral attention to your own state of mind and heart, and moral effort to think and behave in certain ways when ‘what would come naturally’ would be something very different.”
Lord, as we go into your world, participating in your mission of restoration and reconciliation, may we incarnate your forgiveness and in small, but significant ways, usher in your New Creation.