Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Prophet of Advent: First Thursday of Advent - B

Read Isaiah 6:1-8

Moses is out raking the leaves in his backyard when the tree catches on fire, and he hears God's call to go speak to Pharoah and bring God's children to freedom. Jeremiah is in his room playing video games, when God interrupts to tell him it is time to get to work plucking up and pulling down, planting and building.

But Isaiah? Right out of the starting gate, he's uttering strong words, harsh words, words of terror, words of judgment, words of warning. Condemnation flows easily from his lips, songs of unfaithfulness fill the air, injustice is roundly denounced.

And now, he decides to take a breather and go to church. Certainly there, in the temple, amid the incense, the psalms, the prayers, the priest doing priestly things, Isaiah can find the solace, if not the silence, his soul needs.

But the winged servants of the Master of the Universe disturb his reverie singing of God's holiness. Smoke fills the temple, and the building quakes as if, once more, God is appearing at Mount Sinai. And Isaiah finds himself being called, and responds in the only way he can, "Here am I; send me!"

So God sends him, Not just to speak words, but to model a life; not just to talk about judgment, but to show what grace has done for him; not just to warn the people about the dangers of breaking God's covenant, but to demonstrate how to keep that covenant; not just to condemn a community, but to stand with them, for however long it takes, until God's reconciling love can restore them to wholeness.

Which is what God does in the Child of Bethelehem, isn't it?


Here we are, Lord God, send us. Send us to bring hope, to bring joy, to bring peace, to bring wholeness to all those who stand with their hearts and hands open. These are the gifts we have received from you, and would offer to them. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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