Saturday, December 3, 2011
December 11, 2011
Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28; Advent – Fulfilling God’s Mission; Song: Holy, Holy, Holy – UMH 64 Isaiah: Isaiah is not a single person, Isaiah is a single idea written for a people over the important periods of their history. Our text comes from third Isaiah. The Israelites have come out of exile and returned home and discovered that life is still bad. They have come back into a mess, and are looking for the order that only God can provide. The words of this text are to remind them that God is still with them. God had bought them home safely, and God will give them the strength to rebuild their community stronger than before. They have paid for their sin, God loves them enough to redeem them and the pay for everything they need to live. We are free to live a righteous life in harmony. What better reason to rejoice. 1 Thessalonians: This is a perfect text for the second advent of Jesus Christ. Thessalonians is all about what it means to live in the meantime – waiting for God. Thessalonians would have been the first text written in the New Testament. People thought that Jesus was coming in their lifetime. And were wondering what was taking so long. Paul wants them to know that in the meantime, they need to take heart, stay strong and continue to life a good life. Abstain from all evil. Treat people as if Jesus were really here – because indeed he is. Questions: God delivers all who have been treated unfairly – who are those people today? What injustices are prevalent today? How are we called to give those people the good news? What is the good news for us? What are the acts of righteousness that Paul list in the text? Are there any modern acts of righteousness that need to be added? In advent are you honoring those acts yourself? How are you preparing for the second coming?