Pastor’s Corner – November 12, 2023

Amos 5:18-24; Ps. 70; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Matt. 25:1-13          

While We Are Waiting

Prophet Amos declares that the day of the Lord is not light but darkness, “as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake!” God despises worship, burnt offerings and solemn assemblies! “Take away your songs and the melody of your harp!” It is as if the prophet strips away everything we do as a church, spending most of our time and energy in tune with liturgical festivities and worships, rather leaving bare bones of what God really desires! “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream!” Then we come to the gospel reading, a parable of ten bridesmaids watching and waiting for the bridegroom. We know the story: half are prepared with oil to keep the lamp burning while they wait and the other half are not prepared and find themselves cast out when the bridegroom arrives. The lesson being, we do not know the hour when the day of the Lord is coming, so stay awake! It’s a pre-advent message here. The letter to the Thessalonians is also about the end time, the day of the Lord when the dead shall rise and those who are alive will be raptured and greet the Lord in the air! This is where we get that “theology of left behind.” (There is a film based on this awful idea of end time- Left Behind (2014), when those who are saved go to heaven and those left behind will have to go through tribulation on earth). 

As I reflect and think about the past few Sundays and the messages we get from reading the prophets and for this coming Sunday, over and over again, it is clear that what God desires is justice, mercy and humility in our faith practice. It’s not even about worshiping or believing, but loving God and loving our fellow human beings. In all honesty if worship is not at the center for God but more for us to hold each other, to keep the flame alive as we wait for the coming of the Lord, we need to reimagine what our faith community should look like and ask ourselves how we can center our gathering as a faith community as a well spring of ever-flowing stream of righteousness! The flickering light in darkness, in such times as these in which we live with raging violence and displacement of peoples, how do we bear witness and speak truth to power? While we are waiting, what can we do when we ourselves feel powerless to make necessary changes and differences to alleviate human suffering? 

While we are waiting, it is the eleventh hour, the coming of the Lord. The apocalypse genre is about stripping away our common practice and asking some hard questions of what is essential to our life. What is most important to us when we have no time, what will you take hold of in your life or take with you to Noah’s Ark when the world as we know it will come to an end? Is it possible to build and imagine our new life together around it? This coming Sunday, I encourage you to come because just showing up is one of the most important things we can do in building our faith community, so that each of us may be an encouragement and support, as we hold each other and reimagine what it means to please God with love for one another and for our world. Amen.  

Pastor Dae