Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tohu Wabohu and Why the Cookies Aren't the Point: AKA Being God's Kingdom Come in this time of Advent Waiting

Ok, the extremely long title is my effort at tying together some very abstract, though very related points.

Last Sunday, the church where I attend small group, in place of worship handed out cookies to neighbors in the Plaza District as a St. Nick's day gift to the community. I know what you're thinking is the same that I was thinking when I first heard. "No one's going to eat those cookies!"

It isn't easy to wait for something to understand motives of some actions. In fact, sometimes everything seems like chaos. I certainly don't understand why a high school student who was battling depression committed suicide. I don't understand why a father was taken from his family. I don't understand why. It seems like everything is chaos. Without reason, without any explanation.

In Genesis and in Jeremiah there is a phrase that is used that sums this up correctly: "Tohu Wabohu." It's used to describe how the earth was before creation and lives of the Israelites during their babylonian captivity (right, hebrew scholars?). Especially in Jeremiah, life must have seemed Tohu Wabohu. Chaos. Destruction. Hopelessness. Reason-less. Purposeless.

Much as life seems Tohu Wabohu for the widow who lost her husband and is raising her four children on her own. For the family who is still greiving over the death of their son. For someone who has lost their job in this economic downturn and fears losing their house. For the person who is struggling with cancer. Tohu Waboho. Chaos. Destruction. Hopelessness. Reason-less. Purposeless. Tohu Wabohu.

However, we are not living a life of Tohu Wabohu. We are not people without hope. We are not people whose lives are subject to chaos and destruction. We are much like the Israelites who were exiled who were waiting expectantly to return to their home.

We are waiting for the hope and promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Infant King. We are waiting for the hope and promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Returning King. And while we wait, we grieve, not as victims, but as broken survivors. We celebrate, not in the shallow trappings of this season, but as those who know the real reason for which we wait. We share the great news of Christ, not only with our words, but being God's kingdom come in our actions. We are waiting expectantly and proactively.

The cookies aren't the point. The point is that by the delivering of cookies we are God's Kingdom Come. His assurance of hope and life and light in this season where it might seem like chaos and void.