All glory be to Jesus Christ—who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth; who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:5-8)
Last week we celebrated the coming of Christ. Today the rest of the world joins us, even if unintentionally. For, the new year celebrated today is numbered by the coming of Christ. Recent transitions from using A.D. (anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”) to C.E. (“common era”) may attempt to veil the presence of Christ but, as N.T. Wright claims, “Like a great church bell ringing out over a sleepy town, every time someone puts a date on something it speaks of the lordship of Jesus, whether people listen or not.” Last night’s various celebrations of 2017 all acknowledge that something incredible took place 2,017 years ago.
As the year changes, may we acknowledge that Christ remains the same. In Advent, we longed for him to come. In Christmas, we remember that he came. As we enter this new year, may we know that he is here. Proclaiming Christ as Alpha and Omega does not only mean that he was at the beginning and will be at the end. It also encompasses all that falls in between. May this year be one of trusting Christ and affirming the promises in the above passage.
As I think of many of my fellow students who will be graduating this year and of my father and step-mother who will be retiring this year, I imagine the terrifying mystery that such a transition holds. Departing the familiarity of school or a career and entering the unknown of what comes after, I imagine, is a time of rediscovery. It is a time of discovering the self to be someone different in a different place. Though despair may accompany such a time of reorientation, may hope shine brighter and the promise that we are still loved and freed and made to be the community of God in new a strange places.
As I think of the world, I see the political uprisings that 2016 has held in Britain, America, Syria and beyond, and I wonder what 2017 might hold. I wonder how I might be a person who does not sell out to a certain politic, but rather remain steadfast in hope. I still do not know what this looks like, but I hope to continue learning. May we know that Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth.
As I think of my own self, my hope for this year is to grow in an active trust in Jesus. It is all too easy to, on the one hand, passively trust that all will be well and live as a spectator. Or, on the other hand, actively live into something that loses its acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord of all. May I keep my eyes open for his coming on the clouds and may I live like it’s true.
All glory be to Christ!