This Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent and the theme is Hope. The assigned lectionary scriptures for this Sunday from Jeremiah and Luke offers us the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, but also is a reminder to be alert for His Second Coming. But, what is it really saying for us for this day in which we live right now.
As I think about the bombings in Paris, the hostage taking and killings at the Radisson Hotel in Mali, a Russian jet shot down by the Turkish military, the release of the video tape of a young teenager riddled with 14-16 bullets in Chicago, a Mississippi waffle house employee shot to death for telling a customer “no smoking,” to a Bessemer Grandmother being given a black eye and her reacting by discharging a firearm at a Pee Wee League football game … It’s very clear that we live in a shaky world and in difficult times.
While the Jeremiah scripture speaks of the coming of the Messiah in Christ’s birth, and Jesus in the passage from Luke speaks about the end times, there is a word of Hope in these readings for us in the world in which we live today. In Luke, Jesus tells us “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Later Jesus tells us to “be alert, watch and pray” when we see these things happening or even when we are experiencing these things, for they are only temporary, and God will bring fruitfulness back into our lives. That’s God’s promise for us. That’s our hope in these difficult and shaky times in which we live.
As we begin this season of Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. First, we remember the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah but we are also reminded to be alert for His Second Coming. Therefore, let us embark on this Season of anticipation and preparation, this First Sunday of Advent, with Hope; that no matter what, “There Is A Savior, who lights our way.”
Join us at Covenant for worship on this First Sunday of Advent, when the theme is Hope. I’ll be preaching about “The Hope of Redemption in A Shaky World,” based on the Advent 1 scriptural texts of “Jeremiah 33:14-16” and “Luke 21:25-36.”