Susquehanna Morning

Susquehanna Morning

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Advent 1 Saturday: I Doubt It

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all the people shall see it together!

The letter of Jude is so short, it has no chapters. This evening we are reading Jude 17-25, the second half of the letter, in the Common English Bible translation.

17 But you, dear friends, remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the end time scoffers will come living according to their own ungodly desires.” 19 These people create divisions. Since they don’t have the Spirit, they are worldly.

A strategy for the faithful

20 But you, dear friends: build each other up on the foundation of your most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep each other in the love of God, wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will give you eternal life. 22 Have mercy on those who doubt. 23 Save some by snatching them from the fire. Fearing God, have mercy on some, hating even the clothing contaminated by their sinful urges.


24 To the one who is able to protect you from falling,
        and to present you blameless and rejoicing before his glorious presence,
25 to the only God our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
        belong glory, majesty, power, and authority,
            before all time, now and forever. Amen.

If you wish to continue with Lectio Divina, you can click here, then return to read the meditation and prayer. 


The well-kept secret about Advent is that it really isn't about the birth of the baby in a stable at all. Well, it is, sort of. But the texts by now have probably tipped you off that we are spending this Advent time pondering something called "the day of the Lord," or "the return of Christ in judgement," or simply, "the second coming." In the Hebrew scriptures, the prophets are begging people to get right with God before it is too late and God comes in wrath. The New Testament writers consistently speak of a return of Jesus in power that feels very imminent, and yet, 2000 years on, maybe hasn't happened yet.

Maybe. I'm not sure. 

I'm not sure what I believe about the "return of Jesus" or the "second coming of Christ."

Be patient with me. That's Jude's advice. Actually, "have mercy" on me, is what he says.

Have mercy on the doubters.

Mercy on the doubters (which seems, in our current discourse, to refer to "anyone who doesn't believe what I believe") is sorely lacking. We seem to be really, really angry with one another much of the time. I will confess that there are certain issues that rile me up, and a conversation about them can leave me feeling like the top of my head might pop right off. 

Jude suggests we spend our waiting time in another way. 

Build one another up. Keep one another in the love of God.

It is an interesting experiment, keeping someone who drives you crazy in the love of God. Which, I take to mean all kinds of things, including: praying for them, being kind to them, using softer words than our reptile brain keeps wanting to squeeze out of us. (The reptile brain was a brilliant device when we were running from woolly mammoths in the wild; not so useful when we are cut off by another car.) Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Dear, dear friends. Let us keep one another in the love of God.

"Veni, Veni Emmanuel", Sung by Loreena McKennitt


Keep us in your love, O God of day and darkness, so that we will be ready to meet one another in faith, hope, and love, whatever your magnificent and mysterious plans may be. We pray in the name of Emmanuel. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. On Tuesday, Francis will officially open a Jubilee year dedicated to mercy. As you note, mercy is so needed at this time, as is the message of healing and freedom from bondage that the jubilee symbolizes. Mercy is so needed in our world across all manner of belief, nation, and way of life. May it be so. Thank you for bringing this message to our corner of the world/internet.
    In peace,