Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17

I have not blogged in a while and I am sorry. It has been a tough week. I have hit some low points, feeling out of control in many areas of my life. A lot of things seem to be going wrong despite my best intentions. And so I found myself calling out to God. "I need a miracle." Then suddenly, it hit me. This is advent. The time between the Old Testament and the New Testament was a time of oppression for the Jewish people from one occupation to the next. How many times did God's people call out, "we need a miracle. We need a Deliverer."? And we want our deliverer now. We want to get to Christmas. It is only one week away. Why can't we start the celebration?
Why? Because Isaiah reminds us those who wait, rise up on eagle's wings. We are reminded time and time again in Scripture, God's timing not ours. Despite coming to some low points, despite feeling out of control, this December has been peaceful. I am not rushed through the madness of the season. I am not feeling like I need more things or to get more stuff for others. I am at peace in the midst of out of control circumstances. But Emmanuel was not spoken into the best of times. No, Emmanuel came in dark, hard times. God is with us, in the midst of our brokenness. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9

Psalm 37: 1-18
Do not fret because of evil doers but trust in the Lord and wait on the Lord.

That is easier said than done. As we watch the bankers and wall street brokers who helped drive us into the recession get bonuses and watch unemployment go up and receive phone calls from bill collectors, it is hard to not fret because of the unfairness of the system. It is hard to just wait for God to make things right when there is so much wrong happening. The people we love and care for being stricken with cancer, homes burning down, children going hungry. How can the psalmist say just wait and God will make your righteousness shine like the midday light. The psalmist promises in a little while the wicked will be no more. The promise is the meek and peacemakers will inherit the earth. So as we wait on the Lord in the midst of injustices, the call of Scripture is not to take justice in our own hands, like Christ didn't take justice in his own hands on the cross. Have we given peacemaking a chance? Stopping the violence and injustice by not rewarding violence and injustice with more violence and injustice.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dec 6

I Thessalonians 5:1-11

For you are children of the light, children of the day. We are not of the night or the darkness. So then let us not sleep...

This section of Scripture is about Christ's second coming. We are not in the dark, not of the night. We are children of the light. So let us not sleep... How much does the coming of Christ impact our lives?

In seminary, I did a study on the Eucharist and the Second Coming. The Early Church celebrated the Eucharist with a great emphasis and understanding of the imminent coming of Christ. When the Church became complacent and comfortable with the government, the Second Coming drifted into a deep memory and it changed our emphasis at the Table. It seems the Second Coming of Christ is to affect how we live. In fact, our belief in the Second Coming does affect our daily living. If we believe Christ will come back, we live like children of the light, awake to every opportunity to make the most of the time for the Kingdom of God. But if we are comfortable in the here and now, we can become lazy. So how much does the Second Coming affect your life?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Lord is My Refuge

Psalm 16
The Psalms are the cry of human hearts to God, sometimes the cry of a raw, broken heart. As we walk through Advent, we are called to remember our brokenness. John the Baptist calls us to repent and be ready for the coming Messiah. Isaiah reminds us we have not been faithful. The Psalms remind us as we cry out in our brokenness to God, God is faithful to heal and bring hope. Psalm 16 says God is our refuge. God is faithful to show us the path of life as we journey through the darkness. God will not abandon our souls.
As we feel the weight of our brokenness, as we feel the weight of the expectations of the season, as we feel the coldness of December, can we see the path of life God is leading us on? How is God showing us the path of life this Advent?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The difficulty of Advent

Perhaps it begins in our youth, the need to rush Christmas. The rush continues as adults in our preparation for the holiday season. We want to get the shopping done quickly. We want to sing the hymns of Christmas during Advent. Why must we journey through Advent?
It is a difficult season. Advent calls us to walk through our brokenness waiting for our Deliverer. It reminds us we are still going on to perfection, we have not reached it yet.
Advent also reminds us that the problems of this world are not easily dealt with. The rush and commercialism of Christmas can not be thwarted by cute sayings and more family time. No, we overcome through self sacrificing. That is what Advent calls us to. It reminds us that the greed of this society can only be diminished by our generosity. Advent reminds us that the selfishness of our culture must be faced with our laying down our rights. It is a reminder we are to fight the anger and hatred of this world with forgiveness and peacemaking. Advent reminds us we can only combat the violence of humanity with turning the other cheek and praying for the happiness of our enemy. Love in the face of hatred and anger. Forgiveness in the face of hurt and frustration. Sacrifice in the face of greed and the ever growing cry for "My Rights". These are the weapons of Christianity. Advent reminds us the way of the Cross is not comfortable. It goes against my instincts and my nature. Advent calls us back to this reality--the reality of the Kingdom of God coming in a helpless baby, saving the untouchables, dying on a cross, rising from the dead.