October 23, 2012
Dear brothers and sisters,
The gospel reading today is from Luke 12:35-38.
“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.”
This comes toward the end of the parable of the rich man whose land produced such an abundance that he tore down his barns to build larger ones and whose life was taken that very night. Jesus told his disciples not to worry about what is not important but to set their eyes on the kingdom of God. Be vigilant for the coming of the Lord.
I think this is one of the most remarkable teachings in the gospels. Jesus tells us that God is ready to nourish us, to serve us, to wait on us, to satisfy our every need. This is a radically different concept of God than the one I had in my head through most of my life.
There is one condition, however. I must be ready for Him, vigilant. What does that mean? I think it means that I must be attentive to the encounters I have with Him each day — in the people I see and speak to, in the whispering of the wind, in the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in the dreams of the night and the daydreams of the day, in the beauty of the world He has provided and the beauty in the world that we create.
It means that I should affirm those I love instead of finding fault. It means acting out of compassion toward those who are hurting or hungry. It means listening for His voice in scripture, in the words of other people, in the thoughts that come to my mind, in the longings of my heart. It means acting on those good intentions that the Holy Spirit brings to my mind — calling a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time, sending a note of encouragement to someone who is struggling, following through on an idea that comes to mind, tackling something that’s been on my mind for a while. It means listening to the “royal road to the unconscious” in my dreams, that deep part of myself that lies hidden most of the time but which God created and wants me to be aware — the child and the shadow. It means seeing the beauty in each day and voicing my gratitude for the turning of the leaves, the soft light of this cloudy day.
To me it means being encompassed by God so that I understand that everything is of Him. That He has created me to be utterly dependent upon Him and to be His instrument to bring about His kingdom on earth. That I am the only one in all time. That my life is a gift from God and living my life is a gift to God.
That is how I can be assured that I will be prepared for His arrival, that He will take me unto Himself and wait on me. That I will be blessed not just at His coming but every moment of the day as I attend to the preparation as His servant. Just that thought alone fills my heart with joyful expectation for what He has in store for me today!