Scripture: Mark 13:24-37 (The Message)

“Following those hard times,
Sun will fade out,
   moon cloud over,
Stars fall out of the sky,
   cosmic powers tremble.
“And then they’ll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his Arrival filling the sky—no one will miss it! He’ll dispatch the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.
“Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. And so it is with you. When you see all these things, you know he is at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.
“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”


In the world at large, there's not much time
to watch, or to wait.
Not ever.
Not for the real thing --
for real watching, which is different from
clicking and viewing,
or for real waiting, which is different from
biding time.
And certainly not in December, which arrives as the opposite
of the sacred pause.
If ever your life has pauses,
probably it does not have them now.
If ever you have felt able to get still enough
for the eyes of your heart to see
what they otherwise miss, to trust
what they otherwise doubt,
probably you do not feel that now,
in the hurried striving that opposes peace,
and the still, attentive center
of who you are.
The God-with-you.
The world at large does not want you to stop.
It does not recognize your pausing, your waiting, your holding.
Or even your wanting to.
It will keep telling you this
in very many ways.
But in the church, it is different.
December comes differently when it comes
as Advent,
where it is entirely about watching, waiting and holding
 a place for the not-yet born
in the midst of all the not-yet resolved.
It wants to know not only whether we can wait,
but how,
and for what;
 whether we can be watchful,
and how,
and for what.
It asks what newness we are even willing to watch for,
what births we are willing to wait for,
what messengers of God we will make room for...
and what preparing of what way
will get us to the pause
that gets us to the birth.
December comes differently
when it comes as Advent.


 God of Advent, 
lest we believe we’ll glimpse what is holy
only when we are very busy seeking it,
may we be brave for every sacred pause
that says otherwise. 
The Rev. Dr. Brenda Pelc-Faszcza is the Designated Pastor at The First Congregational Church, in Canton Center.

Brenda M. Pelc-Faszcza

interim pastor of First Congregational Church in Canton Center

November 29, 2017
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