Tag Archives: movies

anticipation

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PSA: This may be the nerdiest blog post I’ve ever written.

I’ve been waiting for today for what seems like forever. For those of you who have read my blog at all or listened to a sermon, you know I am a fan of comic books. And not just any comic books, but Marvel comics; you know, Spider-man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, etc. Well one of my favorite cultural gifts of living in the twenty-first century is that we are living in the golden era of comic book movies. It’s almost as if Hollywood said, “You know who we need to cater to? All those weird 30 and 40 something year old nerds.” And today marks the completion of a ten-year saga for Marvel movies as they release Avengers: Infinity War. Since the villain of the movie (Thanos, the ultimate Marvel bad guy) was teased in 2012, fans have been awaiting this day. If they are like me, they have even reread all the comics they owned that cycle around this movie’s story-line just to be extra prepared. And so I woke up knowing today was the day…I don’t think I’ve been this excited in a long time. And I know that regardless of what I experience tonight, I will still be excited. I don’t think the movie could even let down my anticipation. And this is all over a two hour and twenty-nine minute movie…

Anticipation is a powerful thing. My kids get excited about upcoming birthdays. My wife will start packing for trips sometimes weeks ahead, but maybe that’s because a healthy dose of anticipation is necessary for traveling with a family of six. But anticipation, I believe, can often make the thing anticipated even greater. If you come to an event or happening with all this built up excitement and energy, and then you invest all that big excitement and energy into said event, then there really isn’t any way that you should be disappointed…of course maybe that’s just the eternal optimist in me speaking. However, sometimes I think our anticipation looks more like anxiety. I remember growing up and hearing about Christ’ second coming and always being nervous. Sometimes I would even go over to my grandmother’s house (she lived across the driveway) and if I didn’t find her quickly I would be scared that I missed the rapture. I’m not sure, though, that the coming of Christ is something that is ever meant to be seen through the lenses of fear. In fact, I think it’s something the church is called to rehearse over and over again.

The New Testament scriptures end with the writer of Revelation saying, “The one who bears witness to these things says, “Yes, I’m coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” – Revelation 22:20 And some translations even add the phrase “come quickly”. Now if you’re like me, you often look at the world around you and wish Jesus would come quickly and fix all the brokenness and hurt. You anticipate His return because it will be the cure-all for all the messed up things in the world. But what if we, as the church are called to rehearse, live out His coming again in anticipation in the now? I mean, after all the church is called the body of Christ. And we gather together through the power of the Holy Spirit. What if our presence here is Christ in flesh, Christ having come into the world? Here me out. Christ will come again; I’m not denying this. But what if in the now we are called to live in such rich anticipation that each time we gather we become agents of transformation in a world that could really only be fixed by the coming of Christ? What if each time we met the world would know that His Kingdom is coming and His will is being done through us because this is why we gather? What if each time we prepared to assemble as a church we anticipated the movement so richly that we couldn’t help but be excited and amazed at what God did through us? I think perhaps this is the type of anticipation we are all called to live with. After all, if one of us could get this excited for a nerd movie, think about what we could do if all of us were truly excited about what God can do through us.

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it’s time

One of my favorite activities in all the world is to be early for something. You don’t believe me? Ask my wife. (Of course it seems one of her favorite activities is to be marginally on time or even late for things) But I love to be early for all sorts of events. I love arriving early for movies (I’m really good at the trivia), for church (and not just because it’s my job), or even for dinner. But one of my favorite places to be early to is the airport. Specifically I love being to the airport early if I am picking someone up. Anticipating the arrival of someone, granted it’s usually close family or friends, at an airport has always been a great experience. However, my favorite of these experiences was when we joined about 80 or so others to welcome home Amelia, our close friends’ adopted Guatemalan daughter, who we had been anticipating and praying over for almost eight years. The excitement in the room was tangible and as we saw her come through the doors with her parents and brother (granted she was now one of seven) the place exploded. And then it got so quiet you could feel the holiness of that moment in your very soul. I’ll never forget that arrival for all eternity.

2,000 or so years ago the world experienced a similar arrival. The world had been waiting with eager expectation for the fulfillment of prayers, prophecies and longing for something better. For things to be set right. For messiah to arrive. Then suddenly the night was shattered by the voices of an angelic chorus announcing to the world His arrival. “I bring you good news for all people…Glory to God in the highest and on the earth peace to those favored by God” (Luke 2:10,14) And then the earth was silent again. A holy stillness lay upon the earth as most did not even recognize the salvation that had been ushered in.

Today in the church we celebrate this anticipation of Christ arrival as the season of Advent. Advent is a Latin term that means “to come” and so the practice of Advent is literally the practice of anticipating the once and soon coming arrival of Christ. It is as if we take on the voice of the prophet, “A voice of one calling:“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5 The fear that I have is that we might find ourselves not ready as much of the world was at that first arrival. Maybe because we just forgot what it is like to anticipate His arrival. Maybe because we have fallen out of practice in welcoming Jesus. Jesus may not come to us with angelic announcement every time. Maybe He comes to us in the form of a child, the least of these, someone needing food, clothing or shelter, etc. and the question before us…are we ready for his Advent? It’s time. May we prepare our hearts for the once and future coming of our King this season.

 


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