Advent: Hope - Waiting on the World...to Change
For the last couple of weeks I've had the catchy John Mayer song, Waiting on the World to Change in my head. The popular 2006 song of lament sprinkled with hope, feels like one of those timeless tunes that feels especially timely given the state of the world in 2020.
One particular portion of the song has been echoing in my head this week:
It's hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
The system--including the violence, war, and social, economical and racial injustice running rampant in our world is what Scripture calls empire. This system is in contrast and conflict with the Kingdom of God as it breeds social hierarchies leading to oppression and injustice.
In this pandemic ravaged calendar year where we have literally been standing at a distance from those not in our families or social bubbles it is easy to slip into a mentality of hopeless despair as not only does COVID-19 rage on, but so too does social, racial and economic inequality and injustice as well as the widespread increase of addictions, domestic violence and mental health challenges.
All of this trauma and disorientation can leave us paralyzed by fear or simply overwhelmed by the weight of it all leaving us weary and apathetic to the seemingly unbeatable system. Sometimes we do indeed, stand by and wait for the world to change.
And yet, the season of Advent is not about passivity fueled by apathy, nor paralysis rooted in fear and despair. Rather, it is the time of being refreshed, renewed and reinvigorated by the God of hope who doesn't stand at a distance waiting on the world to change, but in a sort of divine cosmic intervention, enters into the trauma and chaos of our world, by taking on flesh and dwelling among us.
Ironically, Jesus reveals a God who in a sense models and invites us to wait on the world to change--not in a passive or paralyzed fashion, but to wait on the world as a restaurant waiter waits on tables. To wait on the world as modeled by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit, is to serve one another with love.
It is indeed hard to beat the system when standing at a distance. Thankfully we have a God who, motivated by love, drew near to us in the coming of Jesus and continues to be be present moment-by-moment in the midst of the trauma and chaos raging on in the world.
May we have the courage, wisdom and renewed sense of hope this Advent season to continue to actively wait on the world...to be the change we long to see within and around us.
So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. - Galatians 6:9-10 (MSG)