This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent. The time of remembrance and anticipation leading up to Christmas. We remember Christ’s first coming in the manger and anticipate his second coming in glory.

The scripture passage for Sunday was from Mark 13 in which Jesus tells the parable of the servant awaiting his master’s return. Jesus admits that even he doesn’t know that day or hour but encourages all of his disciples to “Watch!” because we must be vigilant. We must be ready. We must do our jobs no one knows when the master is coming back.

But as long as the church has been around there’s always been someone trying to predict when that day and hour will occur. Without fail there is always one willing to pin all his or her hopes and dreams on a particular date. And the older you are, the more you can probably name off.

Here lately, however, it seems like the culture has moved from predicting when to predicting how. Whether it’s zombies (Walking Dead), nuclear holocaust (Book of Eli), global warming (Day After Tomorrow), mutants (X-Men), blight/disease (Interstellar), or something unnamed (Maze Runner, Hunger Games). We have a fascination with post-apocalyptic scenarios.

Instead of idle speculation of when or how, Jesus calls us to do our jobs. To practice love of God and neighbor and all that goes with it. Much like the work you do preparing for a special guest in your home, we the church, must be ready. That includes caring for the “least of these” and ruling over creation like stewards instead of conquerors.

I pray that you will join me this holiday season in waking up the particular job that is assigned to you as an individual and the general role of the church in the broader world. Then may we have the courage to act on our callings.

Grace and peace.