Tomorrow is the last Sunday in the liturgical year, which means that it is our annual imagining of the Apocalypse. It is “Christ the King” Sunday, the day that Jesus returns to earth to sit in judgment of the world. It is the end.
Then the strangest thing happens: Advent. We immediately begin to celebrate the birth of God into the world. We wait in anxious anticipation, imagining what that will be like, how a world with God’s presence will be different. How is it that we don’t already know? Jesus just came back. The world was judged. It was the end.
We imagine finality, but the world keeps turning. We attach our hopes to a singular end without understanding that the Alpha cannot also be the Omega unless everything loops back on itself. For a singular point to be both the beginning and the end is a circle, not a line.
We think that a line will give us certainty. God is all-powerful and has provided a path for my life and a path for history. My only task is to walk that line or not, though ultimately it doesn’t really matter. The line goes on with our without us.
When we imagine God’s presence in the world oriented along a line, we shortchange God. Virtue, value, and meaning are transacted from on high without God being fully present. We imagine that God’s presence is limited by time and space, not valid in certain states. We imagine that God is here for some and not for others. We imagine that God answers some prayers and not others. We imagine that some of us are not worthy or capable of God’s presence in our lives, whether through shame or pride. God’s presence is bound by our proximity on that line. Worse, we act these things out in our lives, in the way we structure our society and institutions, and then we wonder why this year saw the same terrible things as the last.
This Advent, we are going to offer something different. We propose that God is fully present to, for, and in everyone and everything all the time. God comes into the world as we come into the life of God. We participate in the process of becoming, co-creating the world with God. We have agency. And responsibility.
Please join us during the season of Advent as we explore process-relational theology and what it might mean for our understanding of prophecy, prayer, and power. This Sunday, we will spend a little time deconstructing the idea of kingship in the Christian tradition, talk about why it matters, and then begin to reconstruct an understanding of Emanuel, God-with-us. 11am, Sundays at Church in the Cliff.
Grace & Peace,