Vol 1:39 The Rhythms of the People of God

I am preparing for Advent – throughout Advent the Mennonite community in which I serve as pastor will be focusing upon how we engage and make use of the time given as a gift to us by God. We do not often reflect on what kind of witness we express by how we make use of our time. How do we demonstrate the new reality of God’s reign as the missional people of God as it relates to reframing our understanding of the use of time?

Most of us, I am afraid, me included, do not offer much of an alternative to our frenetic use of time that we find in our North American culture. We run after time management gurus just as much as any other North American in hoping to get more out of the time available to us so that we can spend our time better or more effectively. We are, therefore, more apt to give witness to our culture, rather than what God desires to accomplish in God’s mission in redeeming our rhythms of time.

Of course, this is all connected with God’s Story and Vision, what God is purposing to accomplish in moving all history towards the completion of God’s mission, what God seeks to create in us as God’s people as we seek to be sign, foretaste, and instrument of God’s present and coming reign .

Do we walk, live, by a different rhythm? In our actions, in our day to day doings do we display a rhythm of life that reflects more God and God’s purposes, or are we just mimicking the same rhythms of life all around us – the hurriedness, the frenetic pace of life that perpetuates the brokenness of our world, rather than the new reality, the new way of being human living life under the rule of God’s reign?

As I read the Scriptures of Advent, I am reminded that God demonstrates a different rhythm of life, a different way of engaging life – one that fosters righteousness and justice. In reading Isaiah 11: 1ff, I realize that God coming to be among us is for the sake of bearing fruit – a new reality, a new way of being with one another. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him . . . he will not judge by what he sees with his eyes or decide but what he hears with his ears, but with righteousness he will judge the needs, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.”

If we think about the kind of fruit the time rhythms of our life portray – I wonder if we find ourselves identifying with Jesus Christ – one who redeems and recreates life rhythms and rhythms of time, or do we find ourselves, perhaps even in the way we engage in ministry, fostering the rhythms of a society that never can find enough time?

These are some of the beginning questions I am contemplating. What questions do you have that might be added to these as we think about what it means for us to be the missional people of God in relation to a different rhythm of engaging time? Our time is indeed a part of demonstrating a different rhythm of the kingdom of God.

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