Advent 1C’21
28 November 2021
I Thess.3.9-13; Lk.21.25-36
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
North Little Rock, Arkansas
The Rev. Carey Stone <+>

O God, may you so strengthen our hearts in holiness that we may be blameless before you, our Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Amen.   – From I Thessalonians. 3.13

Isn’t it strange how time has the power to affect us?  The most recent experience was with the end of Daylight-Saving Time. I’m telling you, when they mess with the clock they mess with our lives! As a priest I wonder each year who will forget to set their clocks back an hour before going to bed and end up being early to church or skipping all together, and always pray that it’s not me!

Time can become scary or frustrating, and we can easily become disoriented, especially when we don’t know what time it is, Anyone who has ever gotten their days and nights mixed up knows the close connection between sleep and our internal clocks. Certainly, the global pandemic has affected our sense of time. We ask ourselves, God, and each other, “When will this ever end? When can we just all get back to normal? Jesus’s words seem like they could have been written today:

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon (can you say blood moon and eclipses), in the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world…”


In all of this turmoil it is easy to forget who is in control and that we are  dearly loved as God’s precious children. The word we use to describe forgetting is amnesia but, in the Eucharist, we are given amnesia’s opposite, “Anamnesis” in Greek, and means “to remember.” 


The Greek language is so precise and it has two different words for time. The first is “Chronos,” where we get our English word chronological, and it speaks of clock time, that’s linear and quantitative. The second Greek word for time is “Kairos.” This kind of time is nonlinear and qualitative, and is the kind of time my mother used to call “high time” like “it’s high time to clean up your room!”


One of the more important ways Episcopalians as well as other Christians, mark time is by observing the Church Year – that annual calendar of feasts and fasts focused on the life of Christ. In this twelve-month rhythm of scripture and sacrament, liturgy and prayer, music and celebration we remember what Christ has done, is doing, and will do for us, as the liturgy says: Christ has died – Christ has risen – Christ will come again! 


As the secular calendar is winding down to the end of the year, the Church Year is only just beginning with the season of Advent. The word Advent means “coming” and it messes with our clock too!  It does this because it mark’s both Chronos/chronological time as well as Kairos/the fulfillment of time at the same time. We look backward as we remember and encounter the coming of the Christ child into the world for the love of the world, and we look forward to the second coming of Christ, when he shall return not as a lowly carpenter but triumphantly, as the King of kings and Lord of lords to judge the world.

By entering human time in human form, God messed with our clocks, and has messed with our lives. He landed right in the middle of our messy lives to bring us a different sense of time not the chronological and often mundane sense of time, but of Kairos time – divine moments where God comes through into our daily and very ordinary lives, and time itself is transfigured, and a sense of the eternal breaks into the midst of what’s temporary, where God can upset and reset our lives onto a new path of redemption, with a different course and one with a much better destination.

Perhaps you are one that feels as if life is falling apart – but Advent hope tells us by faith to believe that life, rather than falling apart, might just be falling into place. Some of the greatest art by the greatest painters and sculptors included accidental brush and hammer strokes; and rather than starting over the artist figured out how to incorporate their supposed mistakes and to make them part of the design.


Eugene Petersen’s The Message translation of today’s gospel once again cuts through the fog with the clear voice of the Spirit:




But be on guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, the Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly as a trap…So don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.