Determined to Bless, but…: Week Three of Advent [21DEC2013]
Readings: Psalm 55 ◊ Zech 8:9-17 ◊ Rev. 6:1-17 ◊ Matt. 25:31-46 ◊
Reading: Choose the Life—Exploring a Faith that Embraces Discipleship by Bill Hull
My Scripture readings today had me thinking in a different direction than the themes I have been considering this week (joy & expectancy). Today I was prompted to consider the community of faith we call the Church. At present, there is an ongoing discussion in the limelight of the media that seems to have generated quite a bit of attention from parts of the Christian community. I have no intention whatsoever of joining this conversation, but I do think part of this media circus I mention has created context from which I have interpreted some of these words from Scripture. I don’t know if it is the Spirit that has drawn my attention to these or if there is anything for us to consider from them in light of current events, but these words seemed to capture my attention.
From Psalm 55— 9 I see violence and conflict in the city. 10 Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city.
The question that comes to my mind is this, “Could this be a metaphor for the modern church?”
And then, there is this passage from Zechariah 8: 14-17
For this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: I am determined to bless… but this is what you must do: Tell the truth to one another, render verdicts in your courts that are just and lead to peace. Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things says the LORD.
It’s pretty clear that God is talking to his own people here. The question that begs asking, is this; “Is God speaking to us today with these same words?” I really think he is. That’s all I have to say on this tonight.
O Antiphon for Dec. 21
O Oriens (Is. 9:1): “O Rising Sun, you are the splendor of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
God is specially present in the heart of his people by his Holy Spirit. Indeed the hearts of holy men are truly his temples. In type and foreshadow, they are heaven itself. For God reigns in the hearts of his servants. There is his kingdom. -Jeremy Taylor
O Mighty One, you have done great things and holy is your name; your mercy is for those who fear you from generation to generation. Here I am, O Lord, your servant; let it be with me according to your word.
Gracious and eternal Lord, in your bounty you have sent us your Holy Spirit. May he teach us to think and do what is right, so that we, who without you cannot exist, may live in loving obedience to your will. Come Holy Spirit and enlarge your presence in me this day, that I may bring into the world more of your life and more of your love.
Lord, hear my prayer. And let my cry come to you. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.