St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church of Ridgefield, CT 203.438.3789

December 12, 2017

Waiting for heaven

Waiting for Heaven by Rev. Whitney Altopp

Are you looking for love, joy, and peace in these weeks leading up to Christmas?  The news reminds us of past sorrows and horrors and present ones as well.  The suffering that we remember through either first-person contact or only a few degrees of separation puts a pall on this season of sparkle.  We know that the hope for joy and peace is not found in our items purchased for Christmas celebration.  As Christians our hope is in Jesus, the Christ, who came as an infant 2000+ years ago and promises to come again.  Let us be clear, however, that this hope is not passive or sedentary or naïve.  It is a hope that calls us into cooperative action in the redeeming work of God—here and now.  I find the words from this hymn from the Iona Community particularly profound in reminding us of God’s initiative to show love to all creation and God’s invitation for us to live as ones who have received it by living lives that reflect God’s redeeming, saving love.

Heaven Shall Not Wait

Heaven shall not wait

            For the poor to lose their patience

            The scorned to smile, the despised to find a friend:

Jesus is Lord

            He has championed the unwanted;

            In him injustice confronts its timely end.

Heaven shall not wait

            For the rich to share their fortunes

            The proud to fall, the elite to tend the least:

Jesus is Lord

            He has shown the masters’ privilege

            To kneel and wash servants’ feet before they feast.

Heaven shall not wait

            For the dawn of great ideas

            Thoughts of compassion divorced from cries of pain:

Jesus is Lord

            He has married word and action

            His cross and company make his purpose plain.

Heaven shall not wait

            For our legalized obedience

            Defined by statute, to strict conventions bound:

Jesus is Lord

            He has hallmarked true allegiance

            Goodness appears where his grace is sought and found.

Heaven shall not wait

            For triumphant hallelujahs

            When earth has passed and we reach another shore:

Jesus is Lord

            In our present imperfection;

            His power and love are for now and then forevermore.

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