First Sunday Advent – An Irish-Existentialist Approach [2]

End Times 1

It is so important, I believe, to delve into the ways in which Luke makes connections between, say, Sunday’s gospel and the rest of his gospel, Acts of the Apostles, and the Septuagint (Greek version of the Hebrew Bible). Especially because Luke’s gospel is for Gentiles who otherwise wouldn’t know what Christians call the Old Testament.

Case in point: Luke relies on the motif of the Two Paths (from biblical Wisdom Literature) – Path of Folly/Death & Path of Wisdom/Life – to reveal two sides of the points Jesus makes.

The Greek term, thalassa, “Sea,” refers primarily to that place apart from God, where the sea monsters dwell, a symbol for sin. AND God led Israel through the Red Sea from slavery to freedom. Note…

Luke 21:25             “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.

Psalm 106:7            Our ancestors, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wonderful works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea.

Micah 7:18f              Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of your possession? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency. He will again have compassion upon us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Exodus 14:21–23           Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers.

It’s so hard to imagine the loss of everything – ‘stuff’, friends, reputation, health… All the things you and I cling to in order to give meaning and substance to our lives. Fear of losing what we have, of not getting what we believe we need or deserve, and of what would happen if people really knew who we are… This fear drives us.

Yet, during Advent, we await that very time when the loss of everything can become our birth into new life. Or not. It could bring only bitterness. 

Christ’s coming then, Christ’s coming on the Last Day, and Christ’s coming now, today is what we await and celebrate.

These are the manifestations of God who, on the Last Day, will be all in all. The deal is, that for this happen… Oh, there’s so much to let go and to surrender to God. 

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