Thursday, November 24, 2011
As I read the gospel lessons for the first Sunday in Advent, particularly Luke 21:25-36, a song more contemporary than traditional comes to mind. Since I prefer the traditional music, I am always a bit surprised that "We Shall Behold Him" begins to go around inside my head. Of course, it is verse 27 of the Lukan text which does it as it says, "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." More than once have I gone to a Minister of Music and asked that someone sing this song on the first Sunday of Advent.
"We shall behold Him...face to face...in all of His glory..." Were it not for Advent, the theme sounded by the song and message proclaimed by the text would never be heard in the church. The one thing the church seeks to avoid in our day is to seem other worldly and to focus on the theme, "Christ is coming" appears to put the church in just such a place. But, then, maybe more than appearing other worldly is the fear of coming to terms with the fact of final accountability to the Christ who will come into our midst as Lord and King.
We live in a culture which judges people and places value on people according to what has been accumulated. We are so vested in this culture that it is truly frightening to find ourselves coming face to face with the reality that embracing such a value system turns our life into a wasted trip. When we behold Him, the things we hold in our hands will not be seen as having more value than the things of the heart. What a surprise awaits so many!