Advent Devotional – 12/25/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Love

Bible Text:

Luke 2:8-14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Text from the Belhar Confession:

Jesus is lord. To the one and only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be the honor and glory for ever and ever.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/24/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Love

Bible Text:

Acts 5:29-32

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Text from the Belhar Confession:

In obedience to Jesus Christ, its only head, the church is called to confess and to do all these things, even though the authorities and human laws might forbid them and punishment and suffering be the consequence.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/23/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Love

Bible Text:

Psalm 82:1-5

God presides in the great assembly;
    he renders judgment among the “gods”:

“How long will you defend the unjust
    and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
    They walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

Text from the Belhar Confession:

In following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/22/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Love

Bible Text:

Leviticus 19:15-16

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.

Do not go about spreading slander among your people.

Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.

Text from the Belhar Confession:

The church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/21/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Love

Bible Text:

Amos 5:23-24

Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Text from the Belhar Confession:

The church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need…so that justice may roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/20/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Love

Bible Text:

Micah 6:6-8

With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Text from the Belhar Confession:

God wishes to teach the church to do what is good and to seek the right.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/19/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Angel

Bible Text:

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Text from the Belhar Confession:

For God pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their suffering.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/18/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Angel

Bible Text:

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
   the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Text from the Belhar Confession:

God supports the downtrodden, protects the stranger, helps the orphans and widows and blocks the path of the ungodly.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/17/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Angel

Bible Text:

Luke 7:22

So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.

Text from the Belhar Confession:

God frees the prisoner and restores sight to the blind.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Advent Devotional – 12/15/15

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.

Angel

Bible Text:

Luke 4:16-19

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
   to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Text from the Belhar Confession:

God calls the church to follow him in this; for God brings justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry.

NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.