“Are we there yet?” This was the cry of nearly every youth in the van on the long journey from Norman to Albuquerque. Then there was the whiny “How much longer?” No matter how far it was, my answer called out from the driver’s seat was almost always the same: “15 more minutes!” After a few hours, they finally stopped asking.
The same tension of “anticipation, yet waiting,” this “already but not yet” is evident in our scripture readings this morning.
Obadiah, similar to other prophets, speaks of the utopian “day of the Lord”. It is a promised time when the Lord will finally set everything right.
In 1 Peter, discipleship is described in terms of being like newborn infants, longing for pure spiritual milk. Christ is referred to as a living stone, and we as the chosen people, called to spiritual sacrifices and to be a holy priesthood.
The day of the Lord and discipleship are both themes of Matthew as well, as he continues speaking of the rich young man of yesterday, who could not attain salvation because he could not give away all he had.
“Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
We discover the first will be last and the last first.
Often scripture begs the question, “Are we there yet?” The tension is constant between the “already” and the “not yet”. Yes, the light is breaking through our darkness, but the darkness still exists. So exists the tension.
We as Christians are called to long for a better world, not only for ourselves, but for the whole world. It is a time of discipleship, of calling, to proclaim the renewal of all things is at hand, and to offer it to all.
I know I have longed for things to get better. I have been down lately. The stresses at work and at home have become a burden for so many of my friends, and for me. The month of December can bring added stress to many. It is easy to relate to the tension of “already but not yet”. In this time of Thanksgiving, I am hoping I am able to reclaim the joy of the kingdom that is already upon us, a harvest of such abundance and plenty. This means sacrifice. It means embracing the tension of this life fully.
Truly God has blessed us, and we are called to a life of spiritual sacrifice, not only to honor God, but to bless others.