If you ventured out for black Friday sales this past week you lived into one of the most powerful pulls we face in the build up to Christmas. The power of the here and now, buy it before the price goes up, or buy now, pay later.
Gift giving is not what Advent is all about and this first Sunday of Advent we heard the lesson from Matthew 24:36-44: “Jesus said to the disciples: But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Advent reminds us that we can anticipate the coming of our savior at one and the same time we also anticipate his resurrection or anticipate his coming again in the future known only to God. It is a hard lesson to learn in our culture of instant gratification.
Here at St. Timothy’s were also in the Advent of our. A new selection committee has been named and is beginning its work asking questions, listening to the congregation and praying for wisdom, guidance and help from God. It is a long advent—much longer than our traditional four weeks of anticipation—perhaps as long as 18 to 24 months before the circle is completed.
It seems like forever in our black Friday instant gratification frame of mind and we know the answer isn’t go out there and find someone just like Steven. God’s time is round. By that I mean he expects us to live in the here and now but to believe in and anticipate the eternal future through faith. He gives us free will to make choices but sent us the Ten Commandments and the lessons of the Gospel to guide those choices and then there is the most challenging of admonitions to “love one another as I have loved you.”
This is hard work loving each other. We can tolerant a few of these folks today but forever! Please, Jesus save me from this burden. But that’s not the way it works.
We have set before our selection committee a challenge just as daunting—instead of find us someone just like Steven—we know the real job is to find someone who will love us, who believes in us, who helps us, who challenges us and teaches us the lessons we have always known but conveniently forgot in those black Friday moments when we need instant gratification.
God’s time is round and that means that we need a new Rector who leads us not just now but who can do so just as well 22 years from now—well beyond the boundaries of our 20/20 Vision. That means we need someone experienced enough to lead us out of the gate and young enough to keep leading us for a while. It means we need a person who can inspire and be part of the next generation of leaders at St. Timothy’s not the last. It means finding a person who is timeless in loving us for who we are and just at home in Noah’s Ark as Diablo Lodge.
Those of us who have loved this place we call home for the last 22 years and rolled up our sleeves to do God’s work in this parish and beyond face a generational change that we should embrace not resist. Grow or die. That is the great lesson of life—we cannot stand still and life does not permit us to fall back. It’s onward, ever onward in God’s time, with God’s guidance and lessons, and in the joy of God’s loving embrace.
“Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming,” Matthew said in theappointed for today. And so this advent we await the coming of the One who saved us, and we anticipate the future of our parish that is bright at the North Star because we know that God is with us every step of this journey.