Waiting for the Heavens to Rip Open
There are different ways of opening Christmas presents. Some people just rip open the package to get at what is inside. This can especially be true for young children who have been told to wait for days and are bursting with anticipation. Other people take their time opening gifts, carefully taking off the tape. That is my style, even when I was a kid. I did not want to waste the paper. I wanted to be able to reuse it, so I would painstaking try to get the tape off without tearing the paper and keep it all intact. Sometimes the people who had given me the gift would get impatient. They were eager for me to see what was inside and they would get tired of waiting for me to carefully try and remove the wrapping paper. In their eagerness for me to see their gift they might even say, “Come on, Erik, just rip it open!
The prophet Isaiah sounds a little impatient in the first reading for Sunday as he cries out to God and says, “Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and descend and make the mountains shudder at your presence…To shock your enemies into facing you, make the nations shake in their boots!”. Isaiah sounds impatient for God to come down to deal with his enemies. He wants God to act in the world and show God’s power to the nations.
I have to say that I’m with Isaiah on this one. I may take my time opening Christmas presents, but when it comes to God bringing justice to our world I get impatient. I’m tired of waiting for God to make things right. I want God to rip open the heavens and come down now. I’m tired of only a few having all the wealth while millions starve. I’m tired of countries dropping bombs on each other. I’m tired of leaders not taking care of their people, stirring them up against each other or rallying them to persecute some minority group. I’m tired of people using religion as an excuse to kill each other. I want God to come down now and take of things—to set things right—to bring peace and equality. But Jesus tells us we have to wait and keep watch because we do not know when that final judgement will be. It is just hard to wait sometimes when we see so much injustice all around us.
Is there something you wish God would just come down and take care of in your life or the life of someone you know? Are there things in the world that you wish God would just take of? Do you feel tired of waiting for justice to arrive? How do we as Christians maintain our ability to “keep watch” for Jesus’ second coming while at the same time facing the reality that we do not know when Jesus might show up
– Pastor Erik