Readings for the First Sunday of Advent
Peace be with you!
There has been several times in recent years when I just begged God to send Jesus back to earth. How much more corruption can the world handle? How much can we as Christians take before we break? I saw the homeless sleeping on sidewalks under blankets in San Diego. Here in Florida, homeless families—children and all—live in the woods in tents. The Ferguson and the Eric Garner cases showed how the African Americans still feel oppressed by others. The Boston Marathon bombing and various school shootings have demonstrated the human brokenness in the world. When will God the Father save us from this broken world?
In Isaiah 64, the prophet reminds God the Father of the awesome power he possesses to save the Israelites from their oppressors. “Mountains quaked in your presence when you came down unexpectedly. We were stupid to break from your ways, and you have hidden yourself from us. However, a few of us remember your awesome power that saved us from our oppressors time and time again. We wish to do your work in the world again. Please take us back as your people” (Isaiah 64:1-9, my paraphrase). The Israelites beg to be in God’s good graces again. The Israelites are tired of living under their oppressors and come back to God. The Israelites repent for their sins and recommit themselves to the Lord as his people.
In America, society often forces us to act and speak a certain way. Anyone seen helping an individual with a disability is exclaimed to be a good public servant for being a caretake, instead of an equal and a friend. We are afraid to walk past individuals who are homeless on the street, especially at night, because somehow we feel above them and/or threatened by them. African Americans also are oppressed into lower income brackets and are not always given equal opportunities, which lead some individuals to gangs and violence. We are afraid of anyone on the edges of society, including those who are homeless, those with disabilities, and more. Society pits different groups against each other.
Yet Jesus says, “Keep awake! I am coming back” (Mark 13:33, 35, 37). Jesus reminds us hope is coming, though no one knows when; expect God the Father (Mark 13:32). We as Christians must stay awake and alert for Jesus’ second coming. We must keep our focus on the Lord’s ways and not let society drag us away. The Lord molds us to do his work in the world (Isaiah 64:8) until God the Father sends Jesus back. Our hope is in the fact something better is coming, something which will save us from the world’s oppressors. This world is just a stop along our way to the Kingdom of God.
Even when we are tired and feel defeated, we can hang onto the hope that Jesus is coming back for us. Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for reclaiming as your people. Help us to keep our focus on your ways. Remind us to stay alert to see your work in the world. Thank you for giving us hope in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- What gives you hope?
- Image found at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/us/latest-news-eric-garner-protests-november-jobs-report-grammy-nominations.html?google_editors_picks=true&_r=0.