First Sunday of Advent
November 28, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we begin our Advent journey remembering a promise:
The days are coming, says the LORD,Jeremiah 33:14
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
“Promise” is a powerfully dynamic concept whose meaning we sometimes constrict.
We might say something like, “I promise to pay you back someday” – thereby limiting “promise” to some future event that may or may not happen.
But “promise”, in its richer meaning, is an inward turning toward a journey, each step a necessary component of the ultimate fulfillment.
In this sense, “promise” is more akin to “vow” or “covenant”. It unfolds as life unfolds. It grows through stages, like a fruit tree from a tiny seed. Its meaning, at first indistinctly seen, blossoms as it is fed with faith, hope, and enduring love.
This is the nature of God’s promise to us. It is not only some salvific event in our future. It is the flowering of grace, again and again, in our life choices for God.
It is the classic example of that insightful phrase, “The journey is the destination.” In other words, Jesus cannot be born for us on Christmas if He is not born in us every day.
Thus, Psalm 25 is the perfect prayer as we reflect on our journey during Advent.
To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
All Your paths are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep Your covenant and decrees.
Your friendship is with those
who hold themselves in awe before You,Psalm 25: 4-5; 10,14
and Your covenant is for their daily instruction.
Poetry: Advent Credo from Walking on Thorns by Allan Boesak
It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss—
This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life;
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction—
This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.
It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever—
This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace.
It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world—
This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo I am with you, even until the end of the world.
It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church before we can be peacemakers—
This is true: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall have dreams.
It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history—
This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that the true worshipers shall worship God in spirit and in truth.
So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope. Let us see visions of love and peace and justice. Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage: Jesus Christ—the life of the world.
Music: Psalm 26 – Kendrick and Redman