This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Advent day two: Christ’s body here on earth

Danilo Sanchez lives with his family in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He has a youth ministry degree from Eastern University and Master of Divinity from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He serves part time as the Lehigh Valley area youth pastor and works with three churches. He also works part time with Mennonite Central Committee as the Summer Service National Coordinator.

“I saw another Sign in Heaven, huge and breathtaking: seven Angels with seven disasters. These are the final disasters, the wrap-up of God’s wrath (Rev. 15:1 MSG)

The first angel stepped up and poured his bowl on the Land of Opportunity: it spun a web of lies about the good of Empire and how the Holy people should inherit all the earth. The Holy People killed and enslaved thousands upon thousands on Turtle Island. Out of their murder and greed, they renamed it the “Land of Opportunity.”

The second angel poured his bowl on the hearts of men: it caused their bodies to lust uncontrollably so that they wanted to devour the women of earth, destroying the image of God in them. The women would testify against the injustice, but no one would listen. No man was willing to repent for their wicked deeds.

The third angel poured his bowl on death sticks: everyone collected as many deaths sticks as possible to protect themselves from the torment ravaging earth. With death sticks they killed men, woman and children; none were spared from the blow of death sticks. All people marveled at the power of death sticks and refused to give up that power, even when it killed those they loved.

The fourth angel poured his bowl on humanity: Fire began to burn in their hearts so that they feared one another. Hatred for those with dark skin boiled in the hearts of those with light skin. The light skin people destroyed the image of God in dark skin people and wanted to rule over them.They were no longer family, but enemies.

The fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of Agent Orange: it caused delusional thoughts to seep into the minds of all who had taken the mark of Agent Orange and worshiped his empire of false narratives. Misled by false narratives, the Holy people forgot Yahweh. No longer spreading hope and truth, they sought to inflict death and deceit. They refused to repent and change their ways.

The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great rivers of the earth: It caused unquantifiable amounts of oil and lead to spill into the water so that it became poisonous to the lips. The plants and animals groaned as if in labor pains. The children cried out, but their voices were gurgled out by the poison. The natives of the land cried, “Justice!” None would listen.

The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air: From the Throne in the Temple came a shout, “Done!” followed by lightning flashes and shouts, thunder crashes and a colossal earthquake. It was a huge and devastating earthquake. There was never an earthquake like it since time began. The empire that the Land of Opportunity had built toppled to ruin. That Great Land had to drink the wine of God’s raging anger—God remembered to give her the cup!

During Advent we like to think of the sweet baby Jesus lying in the manger—there is joy, peace and love. We often don’t think of Jesus’ Second Coming or read from Revelation during Advent. Yet Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of our Savior.

I wonder, is there is space for confession and repentance as we prepare and wait for Christ’s coming?

As I reflect on this past year in the U.S., I believe there is a need for confession and repentance. In my own rewriting of Revelation 16, a passage where God pours out his wrath, I name some of the sins that I see in the U.S. Because we have followed our heart’s desires and not the desires of God, we may be like the empires of old that face God’s wrath.

Like Psalm 79 says, “How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealous wrath burn like fire? Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms, that do not call on your name.”

We have become like the nation that does not know God’s name when so many Christians who claim Jesus speak and act contrary to the person of Jesus. I know some people of color who say Trump is good for America because he reveals the racism, sexism, greed and pride that plagues much of this country.

Because of our sinfulness, we must cry out to God, “Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.” (Psalm 79:8-9)

As Mennonites, we like to focus on the peacemaking part of Micah 4:3. But let’s not forget the first part of that verse, “He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.”

God must judge the nations, including our own. Only after God has judged and set his justice for all the earth can we have the hope that there will be an end to stealing other’s land, committing sexual violence, war, worship of false empires, racism and oppression and destruction of creation. If we want to escape God’s wrath for those sins, then we must confess and repent.

Turn back from following a false empire and remember what it means to be Christ’s body here on earth.

As we wait for Christ’s coming again, we hold on to the hope that in the days of God’s peaceable kingdom only these things will remain: sharing of land, guarding each one’s dignity, love for God alone, righteousness and justice and peace on earth.

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