Expecting the Word – Advent One – Sunday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Isaiah 64:1-9.

In this time of turmoil in our country, when the news brings fresh horrors and dashed hopes every day, I find myself wondering whether there is any hope. The pictures from the police brutality against the Occupiers, the rumors of conspiracy between governmental bodies to deny the protestors of their basic freedoms to peaceably assemble, and to speak what is on their hearts and minds, the images of starvation and famine in lands near and far, the reports of greed and disregard for others during the Black Friday feeding frenzy – all of these things make me say, “How long must we endure?”

And then this scripture pops up in the lectionary, begging me to remember that it was ever thus. During the time of exile, the Israelites lived in the same kind of “confusion, disappointment, and dissention” that we find ourselves in today. As the writer in our study reminds us, clay – the very stuff of our creation – is decomposed rock. The mountains must break apart for God, the potter, to craft something beautiful, and hopeful from them. If we are “unclean and soiled” we can, have been, and will be made clean and whole by God.

It’s tough for those of us in the midst of the tearing down of mountains – the burning of the brushwood – to remember that God is involved in all the messiness of our lives, shaping us into new creations in accordance with the plan for the redemption of the world.

I’m working on being more intentional and deliberate about “Praying in Color” as a spiritual discipline during this Advent season. I hope to find new messages and images of God’s self in my life.

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