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Are you ready?

Do you recognise them? Are you aware of the moment to come before you? Are you ready and waiting? That person coming down the street that you vaguely recognise – can you place them, or do you walk on by? That person you know quite well from church – do you see them, or are you so caught up in your own concerns that you ignore them? That moment in nature – the sunrise/autumn leaves/sun sparkling on snow – do you see it or do you miss it completely? Do you take time to stand and stare, or do you rush past? Will you recognise the moment when it comes upon you? Or are you so convinced of the way ahead that you’ll follow that path blindly? Will you know the moment of God’s coming? Will you recognise the advent of God’s kingdom?

 

So many people haven’t and didn’t. They knew how the kingdom was supposed to come, so they missed the actual moment of its’ coming, it was so different to their expectations. Yet, why wouldn’t we believe in a God who doesn’t automatically fit in to our nicely conceived box? So many people missed the moment, convinced that God wouldn’t come like that. Yet, why would God only function as we want? So many people follow; and so many people miss the entire point. So many people have their own ideas of who they are that they do not realise that God might see them differently. Others are so set in their beliefs of who others are, and their place in God’s kingdom, that they ignore the fact that it is God’s kingdom, and God invites us all.

 

Are you ready and waiting? Are you ready for the God who is greater than we can conceive or believe in? The God whose arms are open infinitely wider than we can see? The God who is ahead of us and calling us always onwards – onwards in ways that we might not expect or imagine? Will you recognise the moment of the kingdom’s coming among us? For the Kingdom has come, all those years ago when Jesus walked the earth; and the kingdom will come to its’ fulfilment in time. Yet the kingdom also comes among us in a myriad of small ways, in daily wonders and less frequent visitations; in ways that we can see and acknowledge, and in ways that we might not even want to label as ‘God’s kingdom’, so painful they are. Yet we follow Jesus, who walked among us and was crucified, died and rose again. Why should it come as any surprise that part of our following might involve pain? That each of us might have our own good Friday(s)?

 

Are you ready? Ready to see that the One we follow might be worshipped in churches and in services, but that these do not define God? Ready to let go of our own finely tuned, maybe even unrecognised, prejudices and follow the God who is Love? Ready to see that, however amazing our church buildings may be, and however much they may bring people to God, that God is greater than these buildings? That God Lives, even if the buildings do not? Are we ready to see that however we define our faith, and however vital our own way of following is, that God is greater than all that? That God might be always saying to us ‘yes, but there’s more and more, carry on coming, carry on following’.

 

Are you prepared and waiting? Or are you somehow happy that your faith is what it is, and that you are where you are and need go no further? Are you actively waiting, aware for each moment when God might break through? Or are you carrying on each day as it always has, safe in the knowledge that God will not come today? What will you do if you’re wrong? How many opportunities for following God onwards have each of us missed in our daily life, by not being aware, ready and waiting? Yet even that is an opportunity: an opportunity to come before God, in sorrow for what we have missed; in penitence for our prejudices and pre-conceived ideas; in repentance for not allowing God to be God. In sorrow and penitence, to come before the God of compassion and mercy, who will always forgive, always rejoice in that one sinner who repents, and will always draw us on, to start again.

 

Are you ready and willing? Willing to let go of the false ‘safe’ god that you might be worshipping, and ready to risk allowing the real God of Love and Life to enter in each day, and to follow wherever that might lead?



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