Fuck. Matthew 24:44.
Fuck. What a way to begin an Advent devotional.
Fuck is that catch-all word, screamed out in a fit of rage. Blurted out in incredulous surprise and awe. Said under one’s breath when things aren’t going well. Cried out in a deep mourning and lamentation.
I come to the opening devotion of #FuckThisShit with #allthefeels, anxious knowing that this is the text that sets the tone for Advent, but also trusting that the Holy Spirit will move how She will to inspire creativity and justice.
When my fellow troublemaker and #FuckThisShit conspirator, Jason Chesnut, and I started talking about this devotional and its visceral nature, I had been filled with so much anger and so much rage because of police shootings, the destruction of black and brown bodies, and the racism and vitriol tied to the 2016 presidential election. These emotions fueled much of my writing and energies in the past months. I thought this anger and rage would keep me, in this body, fueled to write during the season of Advent, yearning for God’s justice in the midst of so much that has gone wrong in this calendar year. As this devotion starts, I am weary, wanting now to keep that anger and rage at arms length, whispering “Fuck” in the midst of a physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion that now gnaws at my bones. I come to this word of meditation and today’s verse tired, weary, and so very much ready for Christ to come again.
It seems I will continue that weary walk in this season of waiting, hoping, and anticipating. Today’s verse, Matthew 24:44 says
“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
While yes, the Son of Man will arrive at an unexpected hour, there is the need to keep watching, to keep waiting, and to keep vigilant until that hour comes. Can I keep watch in this waiting? Or will I be no better than the disciples passed out in the Garden of Gethsemane while Jesus prayed in anguish? I cannot help but reflect on this passage of Matthew’s Gospel, especially when Jesus tells the disciples, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going” (Matthew 26:45).
Fuuuuuck. Jesus. I don’t want to get up. I’m tired. I don’t want to stay awake, but yet… I whisper “Fuck” under my breath. I write, and I wait. I’m coming into this devotional with everything that I am and everything that I have felt; after months of incessant rage, now the weary fatigue of wandering and wondering. Of watching and waiting. Of relying on the community of the resurrected Christ to help me keep watch when fatigue keeps me from holding my eyes open. Relying on that same community to remind me that I do not have a heart of stone, and that this is a vulnerable and tender time in the midst of the wrongs of the world to await the coming of Christ in all of Christ’s vulnerability.
God reminded us that we are all vulnerable, and that God fully experienced that power in perfect weakness and vulnerability. There was the unexpected hour over two thousand years ago when so many were asleep in Bethlehem. That hour, when God unexpectedly broke into our world. That hour, God broke into our world as a baby in a manger, not clothed in majesty and power, but in the unexpectedness of utter humility, helplessness, and vulnerability.
As Christians, we cannot write off that unexpected hour and the vulnerability that comes with it.
Fuck. Jesus was here, and Jesus is coming back. Of course we don’t know the day or the hour. That’s not for us to know. We may have questions, doubts, and uncertainties about that day, about that hour. Will it be today? Or do we continue to wait, fight to keep awake… and dare to hope? And that’s normal when we’re facing our own vulnerabilities, things we don’t understand, especially when it comes to something like God’s timing.
I will continue to whisper “Fuck” under my breath as I wait for my resolve to build again, and as I continue to wonder, watch, and wait. As I know that I am vulnerable. As I know that in this vulnerability Christ was here, and that Christ will come again.
How are you vulnerable in this time of waiting and anticipation? How will you respond? Will you respond?