Sunday is the beginning of Advent, the first season in the church’s year. With all the preparations for celebrating Christmas in a few weeks, it is easy to see Advent as a season of preparation for that. But the ‘advent’ (‘coming’) that the season is really about is Jesus’ second coming, his coming in glory to judge and rule all creation.
Some people talk as though this idea, the idea that Jesus will come again in glory, is one people made up after his death. In fact, it was a prominent feature of his teaching before his crucifixion. The four gospels between them mention Jesus referring to himself as ‘the son of man’ over eighty times. This title, which really means ‘the human being’, is Jesus’ way of identifying himself with the everlasting King seen in a vision by the prophet Daniel. Jesus was very clear that he meant himself when he spoke about ‘the son of man’ and equally clear that the title identified him as the One in Daniel’s vision.
This is the basis of the good news: Jesus is able to forgive our sins because he is the King of all creation, issuing a royal pardon to each and every rebel who trusts in his mercy. His dominion is an everlasting dominion.
When we have spent the next three-and-a-bit weeks thinking and praying about his coming in glory, then we will be ready to better understand what Jesus did when he came in obscurity, being carried by an unmarried mother, being born in makeshift accommodation, living as an asylum seeker in infancy, growing up in humble obedience to his mother and adoptive father. And, just as with his first coming, he has told us about his second coming ahead of time so that we will give him the glory when it happens. (‘Played for and got.’)
Fr Mike Healey (priest-in-charge)