First Sunday in Advent- Stay Awake Scriptures:  Isaiah 64: 1-19; Mark 13: 24-37       I guess you might say that guy is the opposite of staying awake!  He is indifferent.  Maybe that is why the Bible depictions of the Day of the Lord or the Second coming of Christ are so dramatic.  The heavens falling and the Son of Man coming on a Cloud.  The Heaven ripped apart and God thundering through in all his glory so that the mountains tremble!  Something amazing will happen folks, the Bible is shouting- pay attention.        As I studied these two passages this week, I looked at some of the depictions of the Day of the Lord  in the prophets.    For especially the 8th century prophets of Israel and Judah, the day of the Lord was a terrible day!  Amos says, why would any desire this day, it is darkness, not light.( Amos 5: 18)  Zephaniah tells of a day of wrath that will destroy all the earth. ( Zeph 1: 14-18)  For Jeremiah it is a day of retribution with a bloody sword.( Jer. 46: 10)      Yet, when we look at the passage in Isaiah and the story in Mark, we see a different vision. For Isaiah, the coming of the Lord will show God’s glory and power to the nations and remind Israel they belong to God.  For Mark, the Day of the Lord is the Son of Man or Jesus coming back to gather up all the disciples to him.  There is sense in both depictions that this Day of the Lord is less about destruction and violence and more about reconnection.     One of the responses to these images and stories down through the ages has been for people to try to pinpoint when this great event was to occur.   When the year changed from 1999 to 2000, I was serving Myrtle Creek, Oregon. Several of my 7th Day Adventist and Assembly of God colleagues were very excited about the change to the new milineum. Many thought that they saw the fig tree and that this was the moment. They preached sermon series on the books of Daniel and  Revelation.   Of course, the Second coming didn’t come as they had anticipated.  Yet, they were responding to a sense of longing and maybe fear in their people.  Some of them longed for Jesus to come back to rescue them and our world from all its sinfulness and strife.      As I noted in the Advent wreath meditation both of these passages express the longings of people. They are longings we recognize: for God to rescue the world from its strife and suffering,  for...

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