LIVING DANGEROUSLY EVEN ON THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS
It’s a good thing I waited! Otherwise I would have missed this Word which I read during my lunchtime devotions yesterday :
“All men are like grass,
and all their glory like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.” 1 Peter 1: 24-25.
From Monday I’ve been itching to write after I read the warnings issued by the Word of God, in the readings for the first Sunday in Advent; the beginning of the new liturgical year for my Anglican worldwide communion.
Especially the Epistle and the Gospel readings.
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Romans 13:11-14 NIV
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man……
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Matthew 24:36-39, 42-44 NIV
Amazingly that same morning I awoke with a ‘ song in my heart’. No, not a hymn. But a once very popular reggae song which I heard on Kool 97 FM radio station : you’re living dangerously by Barrington Levy. I try and keep in touch with popular music as there is so much to learn from it. And enjoy too. For at one stage, like the ” Home alone Kid”, who declared famously in the movie that ‘ Television is my life’, music was my life. And if you couldn’t dance you could not successfully try and date a nice girl.
And so Barrington Levy’s warning to his girl that ‘ she was not doing him right’, and therefore ‘ living dangerously ‘, reverberated in my mind as I read the Word of God.
That those who don’t know Christ are ‘living dangerously’.
For the period of Advent in my Church, marks a time of preparation for the ‘ Coming of Christ ‘. And the very first Advent was a preparation for Christmas. A time which is celebrated with great fanfare and joy and spending time with family and spending money at the mall, in the Western World. An event which is rivaled only by Thanksgiving which is being celebrated today primarily in the USA.
But, but, Christ’s Second coming, to which the readings point, will be a different matter altogether. And so Jesus essentially warns his disciples, in the same way Paul warns the church in Rome that ‘ you’re living dangerously ‘.
For those who cling to the works of darkness, ‘ The reveling, the debauchery….the quarreling and jealousy ‘, are in danger of suffering the same fate as those who were ‘ swept away in the flood ‘ in Noah’s time.
And the same fate awaits ‘ those who are not ready when Jesus comes at an unexpected time’.
Therefore when we combine Peter’s solemn warning that:
All flesh ( the NRSV) is like grass…..the grass withers….but the word of the Lord endures forever;
with Jesus’ warning, we begin to understand the real dynamics of world and local events.
So all this excitement about Donald Trump will soon be history. It doesn’t mean that we ought to be oblivious , and not guard against, the real and present threat, to world peace and attacks on civil liberties of minorities in the USA. But trust me, or more currently ‘ believe me’, ” bigly”, the Advent message warns us that a greater existential challenge confronts mankind – Judgement. Which is part of what the Second Coming of Jesus will achieve. The other being ‘ to receive those who eagerly await his coming ‘, as revealed in Holy Scripture according to the writer to the Hebrews, which I was led to read yesterday.
And so Trump, so all this excitement around Hillary Clinton and her 2 million vote lead and the encouragement to ‘ challenge the Electoral College’. Get over it Democrats and Liberals, as Advent and it’s dire warning, and yet, wonderful message for the ‘ Hope and Fears’ for all mankind, as that classic Christmas Carol reminds us, is upon us.
So all this excitement about a ‘ spiritually exhausted’ Kane West, the famous American singer. Or in Jamaica our latest ‘ hit song’, the tough talking Leader of the Opposition, and the 650 million public spending on ‘ bushing’ by the ruling JLP so near to the upcoming Local Government elections.
Issues worthy of serious debate and analysis, but let us not forget, that the ultimate reality is that we are all living very dangerously. Whether President, President Elect, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, celebrated journalist – do we remember the days when for some people a day could not pass without listening to Matty Perkins or reading Morris Cargill in The Daily Gleaner on a Sunday!
Our role then as children of God, is to first heed the message of Advent in the midst of the preparations for Christmas. To be ready for Christ’s Second Coming. Otherwise we too will be guilty of living dangerously.
And then to warn others. Persistently! As their Salvation is at risk, and perish they will if Christ comes again and they are not ‘ ready’. Even and especially our close relatives and friends!
For life is not about ‘ success ‘ in Politics, watching Netflix, and owning iPhones. Not about watching LeBron and Currie, nor celebrating with Usain Bolt and #RealShellyAnn. Not about ‘ a trailer load of girls’, nor listening to Bounty Killa and Rhianna. Not even about celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends and hot chocolate and Turkey and Ham.
But whether or not you are watching and waiting faithfully, spreading God’s Kingdom of Mercy and Love, in the power of The Holy Spirit because The Crucified One Who died for us, will One sweet Day, return as King. And Judge of all mankind.