1 December 2019

Matthew 24:36-44

'Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.' (v. 42)

Psalm: Psalm 122


The 1997 film Mrs Brown tells the story of the relationship between Queen Victoria, played by Judy Dench, and her servant John Brown, played by Billy Connolly. After the death of Prince Albert, the Queen falls into a depression and her courtiers struggle to raise her from her malaise. Then the courtiers have an idea. Hoping that riding will take the Queen’s mind off her grief, John Brown is called upon to bring the Queen’s favourite pony to Balmoral.

Every day, John Brown prepares the pony for riding and stands outside the Queen’s window. One day, she sends him a message telling him that his waiting is useless as she will never come down to ride. John Brown sends back the reply, “When her majesty does wish to ride, I shall be ready.”

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and it is the opportunity to make ourselves ready – watching and waiting for the coming of our king.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Like John Brown waiting for Queen Victoria to resume her duties, we are called to be ready to serve Christ when his Kingdom is established. We need to take this calling seriously. Over the next few weeks many of us shall spend a great deal of time preparing for the celebrations of Christmas. Shall we spend an equal amount of time in preparing to acknowledge and announce the kingdom when it comes?

Sing, amen, let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the power and glory,
claim the kingdom for thine own:
Cone, Lord Jesus!
Everlasting God, come down! (Singing The Faith 122 v 4)


To Ponder:

  • How good are you at waiting? We find ourselves waiting for all sorts of things, for news which will make a big difference, for the event that will energise us, for the results of the tests, for the end of a difficult time. How does your sense of hope enable our waiting?
  • How is your hope fuelled by your faith?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon is Superintendent Minister of the Shaw & Royton Circuit in the Manchester & Stockport District. Adrian has been a presbyter since 1988 and, in addition to urban Lancashire, has worked on the Fylde Coast, in Leeds City Centre, the North East of England and as a mission partner in the South Pacific. Adrian is Chair of the CTBI Writing group, which writes material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and serves on the liturgical subcommittee of the Methodist Church.

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