New Boundaries (First Advent)

“I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch!” (Mark 13: 37)

One of modern Australian life’s rites of passage is the moment when a teenager is issued with a driver’s licence. For the teen it becomes the ultimate symbol of freedom, of having grown up, of independence from the family. On the other hand, for the parents of that teen, it usually is a very traumatic moment, a time when the important lessons of responsibility and respecting authority need to be reinforced.

The teen daydreams about taking the car out with friends on Saturday night, while the parents worry about insurance, fuel prices, their own plans for Saturday, and, most important, wondering if their child could possibly be ready to get behind the wheel and drive off alone.

One end is tugging to get away: “Don’t you trust me?” The other end hopes to hold onto control: “You’ll have to earn the privilege of driving”. The wise teen will back off. The wise parent will give in a little. New boundaries need to be set.

Isaiah speaks to God honestly and lovingly. But clearly there is an important tone waiting for a reply: “Lord, I am trying my best”. It is natural to want a relationship where God trusts us. But that needs to be earned as the servants earn the trust of their master in the gospel parable.

When all is said and done, Paul reminds us that our relationship with Christ will continue to be strong,
although like a healthy family, we will test new boundaries. All this takes preparation and work and that is what Advent is all about.

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