Today we'll connect with the 3rd-5th Grade class, also known as the Venture Club. Their Peace School lesson on Sunday was with the famous story of Jonah. When I was growing up much of what I heard about Jonah revolved around the question of whether or not a man could survive three days in the belly of a large fish. We often left out the most important part of Jonah to focus on the national debate of science and religion. While the science behind Jonah is intriguing, the heart of the matter is far more inspiring and potentially life changing. Jonah, regardless of science, can always be read as a political cartoon in which the people of God (aka Jonah) are tasked with being prophets to Nineveh (aka Assyria, aka worst enemies ever). After the belly of the fish, Jonah goes to Nineveh, preaches doom and gloom, and his enemies choose to repent (aka change) and mourn their disobedience. Angry that God embraces Nineveh's change of heart, Jonah remains grumpy and unsatisfied through the end.
Jesus was quite familiar with Jonah as he refers to the "Sign of Jonah" when the religious leaders ask him for a sign. Jesus tells them that Gentiles (non-Jews and enemies, including the Romans) will recognize the voice of God and follow God's ways because they already see the signs. Only religious leaders of the Jews would ask for a sign, and right after Jesus heals a withered hand in the previous chapter.
This strikes at the heart of the Advent season. The birth of Jesus was not an elaborate indicator - "sign" - of royalty and divinity within empire and power. It was an elaborate sign of the true vision of God's kingdom. That children and infants anchor our kingdom. That the poor and shut-out house the kingdom. That young mothers and bewildered fathers carry the burden of the kingdom. That the blue-collar shepherds hear God's messengers. Advent is not a scientific debate about conception and angels - it is a more challenging debate. Where are we waiting for, and expecting, the kingdom of God and our Messiah?
We wait for Christ in the forgotten places of empire.
We wait for Christ amidst the ordinary people used by empires.
We wait for Christ in the vulnerability of all the children.
We wait for Christ in the blue collar backbone of our life.
We wait for Christ in the young and bewildered parents of our children.
We wait for Christ far from the White House and state capital.
We wait for Christ in our daycares and elementary schools.
We wait for Christ in____.
We wait for Christ.
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.