Well, we have concluded another liturgical year, and Sunday, November 27 begins the cycle of the Christian calendar anew once again. We begin with Advent, and Advent begins with looking forward - to the second coming of Christ and the full realization of God's reign. We look ahead to that event and then we look back to the first coming, the incarnation of the son of God which we celebrate at Christmas.
Many of us are familiar with the themes of advent - hope, joy, peace, love - but even more than that are some common ties among our Scripture readings, emphasizing waiting, journeying, traveling, the tension of heading toward a destination that isn't quite wholly revealed. Consider this Scripture for 11/27 from the prophet Isaiah:
The Lord’s Future ReignThis is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house
will be the highest of all--
the most important place on earth.
It will be raised above the other hills,
and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
People from many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of Jacob’s God.
There he will teach us his ways,
and we will walk in his paths.”
For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion;
his word will go out from Jerusalem.
The Lord will mediate between nations
and will settle international disputes.
They will hammer their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will no longer fight against nation,
nor train for war anymore.
Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Isaiah prophecies of that day when war will cease; when nations will live peaceably; when God's reign will encompass the earth and all will be at peace. What does it look like to wait for this day and yet to continue to journey on, to travel the road of faith? How does this text give hope when the world around us continues to lean toward violence and war? Will you choose to walk in the light now, even when darkness seems overwhelming? Let's continue to explore these themes of Advent together.