“Jesus is Coming, Look Busy!” This is funny because we all know the difference between “looking busy” and being “effectively engaged.” The Advent readings have an apocalyptic tone that challenges us to consider our use of time and the focus of our attention. In this way, Advent has a deeply stewardship theme. Global data suggests that people average two hours and 22 minutes a day on social media. And this number is increasing every year. Add to that the hour a day spent watching Netflix. Then contrast that to the 35 minutes a day we spend in undistracted time with family and friends. There is nothing inherently wrong with entertainment or social media. Our scripture writers are simply rattling cages and asking an important question: Are we being numbed into a slack-jawed complacency or are we aware? Wake up!
Beginning of the meeting
Read the reflection above. Quiet yourself. Become more aware of God’s presence. Open yourself to the love of Jesus as you read or hear the following passage. What images and impressions come to mind as you read or hear the text?
Matthew 24:36-44 New Revised Standard Version
36 ‘But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
Reflect on these questions for a few moments in silence, then turn to another person and discuss.
- Take a moment, close your eyes and use your imagination:
- Imagine if Jesus suddenly appeared at your meeting—right now—what would he experience and what would be his reaction?
- If Jesus suddenly appeared and listened to the news, what would he experience and how would he react?
- If Jesus suddenly appeared to you personally—right now—what would he experience and what would he say?”
- Fill in the blank to complete your Advent message, “Jesus is coming, ___________?
After a few minutes bring the small group discussion to a close and invite people to talk about their insights and reflections in the larger group.
Quiet yourself. Conclude by offering this adapted Advent prayer.
God of love and power, your word stirs within us the expectation of the coming of your Son. Keep us ever watchful, that we may be ready to stand before the Son of Man. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.
End of the meeting
Read the passage once again and ask how God’s Good News has been known in your time together.