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First Sunday in Advent

“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence – as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil – to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence!" (RCL Isaiah 64:1-9 and Mark 13:24-37)

It could be a line from a contemporary protest song or a news item but it is the prophet Isaiah speaking to the people in exile inciting both fear and longing. Fear of judgement and the longing for a time in which God’s power is again almighty like in the time the mountains were formed. And how are we to read the signs of our times? The seasons of the age, of the coming of the kingdom? Indeed church history is littered with those who are not too good at reading the signs. In every age it seems there have been some who are convinced that end times are upon us and have gone and camped on the beach or g