First Sunday in Advent


First Sunday of Advent
November 28, 2010: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44

Isaiah 2:1-5: “The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations and shall arbitrate for many people; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. 5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!”

Matthew 24:36-44: “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

COMMENT: Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming") is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. (Wikipedia)

There are two things that capture my attention from these texts. The first, from Isaiah is the word ‘nations’. Prophets proclaim, Priests pray, Politian propose what we all hope will bring about national and international harmony. I propose universal peace begins when we settle our individual, national wars within. It is difficult to imagine that there is enough space within the human heart to harbor enough hatred to destroy enough people to call it genocide. Can a mind really contain the room to harbor greed that decimates rain forests? How wide an area is needed to hold the lust that abuses the bodies of women and children?

Second, I was intrigued by the term ‘be ready’. In this New Testament passage Jesus refers to his ‘second coming’. Before Jesus left this earth the first time, he made another promise. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth…will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:17and 26b. With this promise Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy, for our time. “For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isa. 2:3)

So with God in the heart and mind of the believer, let us ‘be ready’ for the ‘coming’ of the Holy Spirit at any hour. We will be called upon to confront our personal destructive nations. The Holy Spirit is able to dismantle those dominions and put in its place the kingdoms of faith, hope and love. Isaiah’s prophecy can be fulfilled in our day. “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Let this Advent Season echo in our hearts the sentiment and commitment to these familiar lyrics written by Vince Gill,

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father (and mother)
Brothers (sisters) all are we.
Let me walk with my brother (my sister)
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.

Rev. Julia
©November 28, 2010




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