Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Prophet of Advent - First Tuesday of Advent B

Read Isaiah 1:28 - 2:4

You won't find some of these verses printed on a Christmas card. You won't find them used in any of the Christmas carols, or anthems sung by choirs in church.

After all, who wants to be told at this time of year that God comes with judgment. If God wants to come as a pretty, little baby - great! If God wants to come as a jolly Santa Claus - even better! If God wants to come and give us all that 'stuff' the world tells us we deserve - super!

But judgment? No thank you, God. You can just stay home if that is what you are carrying with you as you come to us. We don't like the word, and we don't like the feeling we get when we hear the word. After all, if we are judged, we know that we will be found guilty.

Fortunately for us, Isaiah (and God) never let judgement be the last word. That word is hope. Today, the word might be about destruction, about withering away, about a fire that cannot be quenched. But in the days to come, there is hope. Short-term there might be judgement, but in the long run there is God's eternal intention for peace, for unity, for wholeness.

Once again, we are reminded, as we are so often in Scripture, that God has a unique way of keeping time.

In our time, nations will continue to fight one another;
in God's time, they will no longer need to complete
their homework for War College.

In our time, we are taught that greed is good,
that spending beyond our limits is 'priceless';
in God's time, we will learn the way of compassion
and generosity.

In our time, we shall be judged;
in God's good and gracious time,
we shall be saved.


Timeless God, may we set aside our watches, our clocks, our calendars, and wait for that good and gracious time you are bringing to us this Advent. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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