I know it sounds a bit funny; God squishes Time. It kind of sounds like an old monster movie promotional line or it conjures up the image of a big Monty Python-ish foot coming down out the sky to flatten an unsuspecting clock. But that is NOT what I mean. I mean that God takes our linear sense of time, past present and future, and curls it up, so that that it touches and intersects.
That is certainly how I understand and approach the season of Advent. In our reading this past Sunday, Mark 13:24-37, Jesus is talking about the “coming of the son of man in the clouds”. Advent is a season during which we reflect on the come of Jesus’ birth, the anticipation and need of this incarnation in the world. Yet, on this first Sunday we read and hear Jesus speaking of the his “second coming” and the coming of the transforming fullness of God’s Kingdom. In our reading of this scripture passage, it has happened, it is happening, and it is still to happen. It can make your brain hurt a bit. (Doctor Who fans would call describe this as “timey whimey” stuff.)
Lets reflect on the passage some first. In this past Sunday’s reading, Jesus describes the impact of His own coming then, now and in the future. How God in Christ overwhelms all powers; the sun, the moon, the sky, and even time itself. This is what happens when God becomes incarnated, when God comes among us. God, in Jesus Christ, (has and) will completely alter the fabric of the universe. Heaven and Earth. God did this, is doing this, and will do this.
It is like the experience we have as Christian’s every time we celebrate the Eucharist.
“and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” – 1 Corinthians 11:24-25
It happened then with Jesus and his disciples in the upper room before his crucifixion, and we participate in the very same bread and cup when we take communion on Sunday, and it is also the very same heavenly banquet we will celebrate in the kingdom. It is the same. The same event touching and intersecting. God squishes time together. In Christ and with Christ, God transforms everything, even time itself, because there is nothing that God is not more powerful than.
Advent is a season that reminds us that our faith, our Christian hope, is both in the time of “here now” and of “not yet”. Our faith is present and future. Our faith is upon us and upcoming.