Only The Father Knows

The season of Advent reminds us to wait with intention.

Jesus' life, recorded in the Scripture gives us many clues as to what he was waiting and watching for. He consistently went off to be alone with his Father. He longed to be in the company of his father, to be at home with him. This text reminds us that there are some things which only the Father knows. We can either fear the Father's knowledge and how he will use it or we can imitate Jesus and draw close to the Father and listen to his heart. We can wonder. What might the Father know that he too longs for us to hear?

Matthew 24:36, 42-44 NLT

36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Did a word, phrase or picture come to mind as you listened to the text?

Journal what you are wondering about. Bring these wonderings into conversation with Jesus.

Did a particular feeling or emotion arise as you listened to the text? Tell Jesus about it. He or the Father may have more to say to you about it.

Hope of Glory

To them (and us) God has chosen to make known
among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27


The Hebrew word for glory is kabod and it's root signifies "weighty", that is, something of real substance. God's glory is more to be contemplated and experienced than to be comprehended analytically.

Consider the weightiness of Christ in you, the hope of glory as you meditate on this Psalm.

To the praise of His glory...

Psalm 8 (NLT)   Dialogue of Love with God
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
    Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants
    to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
    and all who oppose you.
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
    putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds
    and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
    and everything that swims the ocean currents.
9 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

For Reflection and Prayer:
glory - kabod (Hebrew) –  root “weighty”
glory – doxa (Greek NT) – “reputation”

What word, a phrase, image, or feeling caught your attention as you listened? Bring it into your prayer. Journal what you hear the Holy Spirit saying to you.

Where have you recognized God’s glory? Around you? Before you? Inside you? Pause and allow yourself to be captivated by God’s glory. Be still and savor God’s glory.

Where are you currently seeing the “work of God’s fingers” or wish you would see evidence of them? Bring this into your prayer and listen for God’s words back to you.

Write your own love poem of admiration to God.

Planted

In this next season, we will transition to praying with the Psalms. Coined by Dietrich Bonhoeffer as the Prayer Book of the Bible, the Psalms guide us in relating to God through prayer. They aid us in knowing the character of God while helping us find our voice as we live in authentic relationship with God. No conversation seems 'out of bounds' in this book.

This weeks' Psalm has us planted by the streams of water. Come, join us there...

Psalm 1  (NIV)

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, a phrase, image, or feeling that shimmered as you listened? Bring it into your prayer with Jesus. Perhaps you want to draw or color your prayer.

In your prayer, picture yourself being planted by a stream. Notice your deepest desire as you are planted by the stream. What do you most want there?

When are you most aware of God watching over you? What feelings does that bring up for you? What does God see when God looks
upon you? Bring these ponderings into your prayer. 

Keeping Watch

Repeatedly Jesus invites us to pay attention and keep watch. The immediate, the now, this present moment is what we are given. Yet we are easily distracted from giving our whole attention to it.

What gift does the present moment hold for us? Jesus beckons us to receive the ever giving gift of the present moment.  Jean-Pierre de Caussade calls this gift the Sacrament of the Present Moment.

What makes the present moment holy, set apart for you? Where do you find the courage to pay attention to it with reverence? Can I be present to myself or another in the moment, noticing Christ's presence within it?

Be patient and kind to yourself as you unwrap the gift.

Mark 13:32-37 (MSG)
“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
As you listened to or read the text, was there a word or phrase which "shimmered" for you? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

Where or when have you been most aware of the presence of God, within you or around you? Upon reflection, what do you notice about that time?

What helps you or encourages you to stay present, attentive and watching for Jesus? What do you notice when you watch?

Do you notice what distracts you from the present moment? Sometimes, simply naming the sources of distraction can be a starting place to become more present.