First Sunday in Advent, Nov. 28, 2010
The theme this week as we enter the first week of Advent is "Waiting". Those who observe the custom of lighting the Advent wreath light the first purple or blue candle, the candle that, for many people, signifies "hope". Tradition sometimes also refers to this first candle as the "prophet" candle. In keeping with that thought, today we'll check in with the Shakespeare of the Old Testament, the prophet, Isaiah. But first, why not pause and breathe a few deep breaths to center and relax. Ready?
Prayer: "Divine Love, be with us as we consider waiting and wondering how you might be reaching out to us through Isaiah's words. What would you want us to change today?"
1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 3Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
On the heels of the mid-term elections, it is easy to be concerned for the future of our state and of our federal government. We are in a time of partisanship that will not be overcome easily. Harsh and bitter things were said by candidates and pundits alike; the negative campaign ads flooded our airwaves. Coming into the winter of the year with the potential for more disagreements and gridlock come January, hope seems elusive.
Yet Isaiah was no stranger to political conflict. He walked the corridors of power in the kingdom of Judah, and was not a "yes man", instead speaking out to kings as well as commoners. Despite living during a time of optimism, he spoke of the folly of putting all the government's trust in military might and pagan gods rather than trusting in God. People of power didn't care to hear what he had to say.
Here's a question to take with you today as we all begin to imagine what it might be like to be a "yes-man" (or woman) to God instead of to the "kings" and pundits of our day.
As we wait for Christ's coming, how can I pay attention to God's paths today? What pagan "gods" must I set aside today in order to live a little bit more in the light?
Try sitting with the question for a moment or two and see what possibilities arise for you. When you are ready, you are invited to pray.
Closing Prayer: "God, we don't know the exact time when the peaceful kingdom will arrive. Only you know when you will completely and perfectly bring about your purpose. As we wait, help us work for peace in the world and cooperation together. Amen."
For further reading, these are the rest of today's scriptures:
- First Reading Isaiah 2:1-5
- Psalm Psalm 122:1-9
- Second Reading Romans 13:11-14
- Gospel Matthew 24:36-44
Go in peace!