Who are we waiting for?

Reflection by FAN Director of Franciscan Earth Corps, Rhett Engelking

This reflection was originally posted in our January 12 newsletter

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” (1Cor 6:15) While this question is often cited as a reminder of our call to sexual morality, more fundamental than any call is the reminder of our identity in God’s eyes. In the first of Sunday’s readings, Samuel is asleep along with the Ark of the Covenant in the temple of the Lord, only to be awakened by God’s call. The call of God is a persistent refrain that extends even beyond the ears of High Priests like Eli, to a youthful heart. When we superimpose Paul’s mystical assertion that each body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,” (1Cor 6:19) Samuel’s encounter in the temple becomes a compelling exterior metaphor for the internal dynamics that go on within all of us who struggle to do God’s will. The fire of the Holy Spirit within each of us is but a lamp of God not yet extinguished, God’s Law is written on tablets that are encased in an ark within temple’s heart, and we, like Samuel find that our True Self is asleep within, beside God’s lamp and Ark just waiting to be called.


As Christians, it seems wise to wait patiently for the second coming of the Lord, but whenever we accustom ourselves to the wait, we do not seem to be listening when the voice of God is truly calling us. Internally, we carry around a dialogue between the patient, traditional voice of Eli telling us to “go back to sleep” (1Samuel 3:5) and the urgent, prophetic voice of John the Baptist saying, “Behold the Lamb of God.” (John 1:36) If you are unfamiliar with this dialogue, consider Cat Steven’s poetic song Father and Son. It is the song of two generations on the verge of a revolution, both voices are valid, and the tension between the two is between the world as it is (and has always been) and the world that could be. It is within this tension that all prophetic movements emerge, and when they do so, they do not follow a particular predictable chronological time frame that we can wait patiently for and measure on calendars or watches. Rather, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed and no one will announce it, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:20) Collectively discerning God’s appointed time (Kairos in Greek) and responding “Here I am Lord, I have come to do your will” is the essence of the faith-rooted organizing that FAN seeks, and kairological time is already emerging in the here and now.


Consequently, for the times that we choose waiting for some future time over awakening to the here and now, we must ask ourselves, “What are we waiting for that has not already arrived?” Instead of waiting for a distant second Messiah, we can wake up to the truth that as members of Christ’s body, we are already one Spirit with him and can already glorify God now with our body. Instead of waiting for a third confirmation of God’s call, we can turn on the news and listen to the cry of the poor in our world, knowing that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do for the Son of Man. Instead of stalling the revolution that is unfolding right now in our lives, we need to realize that what is emerging in every revolution is the Word of God. This Word has already been written in heaven, but simply needs the consent of us, people in the flesh, to translate that word on Earth as it is in heaven.


Rhett Engelking
FAN Director of the Franciscan Earth Corps 

Published in: on January 13, 2015 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

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