The Unexpected Hour
We’re mistaken if we think Luke 12:35-40 is about how we’re waiting here for an absent God who left a long time ago. Jesus is inviting us to be present to a God who’s always present. He’s teaching us how and where to wait. He’s telling us to listen for the knock, to watch, and to be alert. This is the God who is ever present in the ordinary circumstances of our lives, even in our waiting.
We might be tempted to ask, “If He’s ever present, where is God exactly in all our waiting?” But maybe the better question is, “Where are we?”
A camp counselor at a religious camp once asked her campers, “Where did you see Jesus today?” A very surprised and excited camper cried out, “You mean He was here today?!”
Jesus responds to our surprise and excitement by saying, “Yes! I was here today. I am here. And I will be here.” That’s why he’s telling us to be dressed for action because something’s going on right now, and He wants you to be part of it. Come and participate because the Father’s good pleasure is to give you the kingdom. This good thing is for you.
“Be alert,” he tells us. But this isn’t a command with a threat of punishment. It’s an invitation to be blessed. “Blessed are those who he finds alert.” He’s not just inviting us to be awake, to be ready, and to be watchful. He’s calling us to be fully alive and living into this present moment. Blessing and life are synonymous in God’s kingdom. Jesus Himself is that returning master. He’s telling us, “Be alert, be blessed, and I will come and serve you. I’ll feed you with the bread of life. I’ll serve you the cup of salvation.”
But, as Jesus says, all of this happens at an unexpected hour. It’s coming like a thief in the night at a time when we least expect it.
So, when is the unexpected hour? When will all this happen? My guess is that for most of us, the most unexpected hour would be today, right here, right now.
The most unexpected hour is that hour spent alone in the hospital waiting room. It’s the hour sitting next to the phone waiting for news of a loved one. It’s the hour spent praying for a miracle. The hour when we’re waiting for clarity and hoping to receive some direction to find a way forward. It’s the hour waiting for our grief and pain to finally be over so our life can return to normal. It’s the hour when it seems like nothing is happening; like life isn’t the way we want and there’s nowhere to go. But he was there, whether we recognized Him or not. He was right there loving us.
“You mean he was here today?!” Yes, he was. Right there in the most unexpected hour of your life.
Good Shepherd Lutheran
The Unexpected Hour