Waiting for restoration

News of fallen world reminds us Advent goes on

Dec 7, 2015 by

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Not just a short wintertime season, Advent is always with us. Every day, some manifestation of creation’s groaning (Rom. 8:18-25) appears and causes outrage — or, alternatively, not as much outrage as it should.

Advent doesn’t really end until Jesus returns to make all things right. For followers of Jesus in a fallen world, this is our reality.

The controversy in the U.S. over whether to accept refugees from Syria is, in a way, as disheartening as the refugee crisis itself. Christians are among those responding more from fear than from obedience to Jesus (Matt. 25:31-46).

It’s another of the seemingly unending reminders that the liberation we await in Advent is not only from external forces of evil but from our own sin, which infects our being and seeks the preservation, advancement and elevation of self.

So Advent goes on. I’ve been observing it this year since the release of the video from the June 5 pool party in McKinney, Texas, which showed a police officer restraining an unarmed black 15-year-old girl on the ground.

Advent goes on: Last month, a Chicago police officer was charged with murder in the October 2014 shooting of a black 17-year-old boy with 16 bullet holes in his body. The video has been released, and by all accounts it’s horrible.

Advent goes on: After the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, Muslims and refugees are being seen as the enemy. The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to suspend a program to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year. Governors of at least 31 states want to refuse Syrian refugees.

In the wake of each incident, there are professing Christians justifying injustice and perverting the gospel into an odious imposter.

Advent really is almost every day for us as we await the restoration of creation and the restoration of our hearts — sin-free.

That restoration has begun. It is visible in people following Jesus by opening their hearts to the needs of others who are different from them. We’re all called to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:11-21). There are as many ways to do that as there are spiritual gifts and callings: opposing war, working for racial justice, practicing sustainable food production, caring for needs in our neighborhood and around the world, proclaiming and teaching the good news.

While many who claim Christ’s name voice opposition to refugee resettlement, we have an opportunity to show love by assisting in that work. The example set by Forest Hills Mennonite Church in Leola, Pa., shows that when a whole congregation works together, hospitality overcomes fear. That’s just one Advent proclamation of Christ’s restoration to come.

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