“O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.” —Henri Nouwen

A Long Wait for Christ’s Coming

Romans 1:1-7

Many people can pinpoint a moment in their past when  they felt Christ’s presence in a decisive, new way. That moment divided life into a BC and an AD. For many of us, life seemed dif­ferent after that one moment when Christ entered our story and dwelt with us in a clearer way. In the AD years that follow, we look ahead, increasing in maturity and walking in the light. But let us stop and look back for a moment. As part of this Advent period, let us return to that BC time  before Christ was present to us. The Advent readings remind us of a time before the gospel could be recognized clearly by us or by anyone. It was another era, a time of gestation, of hidden clues, of latent possibilities.

This week’s readings call for spiritual hind sight into misty beginnings: when we look back at the BC part of our life or the life of God’s people, we see that Christ was indeed always there. Although often unseen or unheralded, he was not silent. Paul’s opening declaration  in the letter to the Romans states that the gospel of Christ was spoken long before by the prophets. Paul sees God’s continuity and even the face of Jesus in the scrolls left behind by the great preachers of Israel’s past.

Let us try to link our AD back to an earlier BC period. Christ has not changed, and thus he was always with us. This is indeed part of God’s way, to lie in gestation and in waiting. Thus Christ lay once as a baby in a manger, waiting in silence for a mission that lay many years in the future.


Help me, God, to see that you were always with me. Help me to remember the unclear and uncertain feeling of not knowing and to see that even in my earliest beginnings, you were near to me. Amen.

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