The Thief of the Lord
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.” – 2 Peter 3:10
When we suffered a burglary I found myself feeling naked and vulnerable. I didn’t feel as easy in our home. I considered the next door neighbors with narrowed eyes and suspicious thoughts. Not great feelings.
So it’s pretty weird that one of the ways that both the scriptures and Jesus speak of God’s advent is as a thief. Also quite a contrast to the more common and comforting images of the Advent season, the coming of a baby.
But let’s try it on. Suppose that this Advent God is coming as a thief. What might God take from me, from you?
Knowing this God just a little, I’m thinking she might relieve me of some of the stockpiles of certainty I have stored up like bulk purchases from Costco. My sure and certain ideas about some other people might for example get torn away from me, leaving me in a state of holy bafflement.
Or, peering into your pantry, God might notice a tidy little stockpile of resentment. Slights saved up, grievances stacked. And stealing all that, God leaves you with what exactly? Maybe gratitude? Grateful for all you do have, grateful to be here at all.
There’s a way in which naked and vulnerable can be very good.
Come holy thief. Steal from us our easy judgments and our false certainties. Leave us shaken and wanting … wanting You.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. He is the author of many books, including What’s Theology Got to Do With It: Convictions, Vitality and the Church. You can read Tony’s “Weekly Meditation” and “What’s Tony Thinking?” at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.