In Interruptions and Disruptions, Christ is Coming

Homily, In Interruptions and Disruptions, Christ is Coming
First Sunday of Advent, Year C, 2022
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
Tequesta, FL

The Rev. Derek M Larson, TSSF

Today’s Lectionary Readings:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

So you’re on a road trip when suddenly you hear it: a funny noise coming from the engine. Next thing you know you’re on the side of the road waiting on a tow truck and your whole trip is postponed. 

You been there?

Or perhaps you’ve been preparing for a grand Thanksgiving meal at a family member’s house. You’re contributing a few dishes of your own and ready to go when your 8 year old comes down with a 103 degree fever. 

Had that happen?

It’s your brother’s wedding! Plans have been in the making for months. Friends and relatives are flying down for the big day. And a major hurricane cuts out power to the whole city. 

You ever experienced something like that? 

You’re living life, making plans, and suddenly everything is disrupted. 

We never know what is going to happen or when something is going to happen do we? 

That’s exactly the scenario we read about in our gospel passage today. Remember a couple weeks ago when we read about the temple being destroyed, catastrophes and natural disasters happening, and how it would feel like the end of the world but not actually be the end of the world? Today’s passage is a continuation of that same sermon of Jesus, but from Matthew’s perspective instead of Luke. It’s a sermon about God’s presence in the midst of the destruction of Jerusalem and the adversity faced by the early Christians.

And as Jesus continues he says that like the people in the days of Noah before the great flood, we go about making plans and living our lives without any knowledge of what’s to come and when it will come. In life, inevitably our plans will be interrupted. Inevitably our lives will be disrupted. Your car breaks down. Your child gets sick. Your wedding gets postponed. A war breaks out. A storm comes. A terminal diagnosis is made. 

We can’t always control what’s going to happen and when. Did you hear that? Because that’s a hard truth to bear. We can’t control what’s going to happen and when. 

And yet in this passage Jesus offers us an alternative to control. We can’t always be in control, but we can always be ready. We can always be ready. 

Not ready for worst case scenarios. How many of you are worst case scenario people? You are always planning in your head for when things go wrong. What will you do if this happens? What will you do if that happens. I can be like that sometimes. Anyone else ever like that?

That’s not the kind of being ready Jesus talks about in this passage. No, Jesus tells us to be ready not for the worst, but to be ready for the coming of Christ.

We can’t always control what happens in life, but we can always be ready to see the coming of Christ in the midst of what happens in life. We are often watchful and ready for whatever it is we fear, but what would it look like to be watchful and ready for the presence of Christ? What if rather than going through life trying to predict and control the bad things that could happen we focused on the good and beautiful ways Christ shows up in the midst of the interruptions and disruptions we face?

In the middle of our daily lives, Christ is coming. When bad and unexpected things happen, Christ is coming. When things don’t go the way we plan, Christ is coming. 

And if we are ready for Christ’s coming—if we are awake and expectant—than we can receive all that Christ gives us to face the interruptions and disruptions we face in life. If we are ready and expectant for Christ to show up, we can receive the peace, the strength, the grace, and the love that he offers. Like Jesus walking on the water, though the storm rages around us we will walk with a trust that whatever happens, Christ is with us. Coming to us when nothing goes as planned. 

We can’t always control what happens in life, but we can always expect Christ to come with it when it happens.

Today is the first day of the Advent season. For the next four weeks we will slowly make our way to Bethlehem where Christ comes into the world as a child. The season of Advent, then, is about hope and preparation. It’s a time to be filled with hope whenever things don’t go as planned and a time to prepare for Christ to come. 

In the Christmas story we hear about the holy family arriving in the city of Bethlehem only to be turned away at the inn because there was no room. You know, each of our hearts is also an inn. And Christ also comes to the door of our hearts to see if there’s room. To be ready for Christ’s coming means to always have room when he comes to our door. Whatever is happening in our lives. Whatever plans we’ve had to abandon. Whatever surprises we can’t control. To be ready means to always make space for Christ to come and walk among us. As it says in the Christmas hymn, “Let every heart prepare him room.” 

My prayer for you this Advent season is to always be ready and watchful for Christ to show up at the door of your heart whenever you face the interruptions and disruptions of life. Amen.