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Advent Awakenings (Week 4) – Obedience and the Coming of the Lord

The meaning of the expression ‘advent’…includes that of ‘visitatio’,
which simply and specifically means ‘visit’; in this case it is a
 question of a visit from God: He enters my life and wishes to speak to me.

Obedience. It is a word that causes many who have suffered under the bondage of legalism to recoil. They have had their fill of external rules: the dos and don’ts, the ought-tos and the shoulds of external religion. So, before you jump to the conclusion that this is the direction in which this Advent Awakenings is headed, let me assure you that such is not the case.

Rather, I want to consider the idea of obedience in light of God’s coming, the Word made flesh who dwells among us, whose coming we anticipate during Advent and celebrate at Christmas and the year ‘round. (John 1:14) This is a perspective of obedience in light of a God who has come and, “enters my life and wishes to speak to me.”

Obedience from this perspective is thus not about rule keeping but about relationship. It is relationship with the One who has come that you and I might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). It is about intimacy, our knowing God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and entering into what the early church fathers called the perichoresis, the dance with the Divine, the Holy Trinity. Praise God, there are no “wall flowers” where the Good News of the Gospel is concerned. The invitation is for everyone. No one is excluded. All are invited to join the dance!

So how do we learn to enter the experience of this “dance with Divinity”? It is through obedience. Now let me explain. Our word obedience comes from the Latin word audire which means “to listen”. If one is really listening, the prefix ob is added in front of audire. Thus you have the word in Latin obaudire from which we get our English word “obedience”. So you see? The word obedience is really all about our learning to listen, following God’s lead on the dance floor of our lives.

Now let me tell you something about dancing. First, I love to dance, especially with a woman who lets me lead on the dance floor. Dancing with a partner who doesn’t want to be led is really no fun at all. (One night watching Dancing with the Stars will convince you of that!)

But what about us?  Well, from God’s perspective that’s where you and I were before His coming into our lives. We were doing the leading of this dance called life. And you know what? A Latin word describes this kind of dance, too!

It is surdus which means “deaf”. We were deaf to life in God. Scripture describes all of us “like sheep [who] have gone astray.” (Isaiah 53:6) In Latin, if you are really deaf, a prefix is added at the front of the word surdus. That prefix is ab. Thus you end up with the Latin word absurdus from which we get our English word (you guessed it!) “absurd”.

So what’s your choice this Advent Season and in the days ahead? Obedience or absurdity? Will you choose to listen and experience Jesus who is the abundant life given to us or will you choose a life of absurdity by turning a deaf ear to God? May God give us the grace to hear His voice and follow His lead as we continue our dance with the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Barry Grecu

About the Author

Barry Grecu is president and founder of Ministry Emmaus, Inc. located in Roswell, GA. He is a certified Christian counselor, spiritual director, life coach and retreat leader. Together with his wife Sandi he has a passion "to guide you into the life you have always wanted." For further information contact Barry at wbgrecu@juno.com.