Monday, December 03, 2012

Advent!

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
Jeremiah 33.14-16
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 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. Many peoples 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. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; 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 any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Isaiah 2.1-5
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 12.1-3
In the hill country of the Judean Wilderness, the dust blows across the bare stone, the grey, scrubby vegetation, the land scoured with light.

Paula Gooder, in her book The Meaning is in the Waiting, writes that,
Abram is commanded to leave… all from the greatest to the smallest. All of Abram’s ties are to be cut from the universal to the specific, from the abstract to the concrete, from general living to day to day existence. Abram is to leave them all and ‘go’… With God the command is both to go and to come. The ‘go; element involves leaving behind many things; the command to ‘come’ involves knowing that God will accompany us on the journey… Abram’s call is really a call to waiting… Abram is promised great things, but he doesn’t really see the fruits of this promise in his lifetime.
Waiting. It seems to us passive, a hanging around on someone else’s time, nothing to do. Waiting on God is anything but hanging around. Paula Gooder says (ibid. (introduction)):
Advent, then, calls us into a state of active waiting: a state that recognises and embraces the glimmers of God’s presence in the world, that recalls and celebrates God’s historic yet ever-present actions and the speaks the truth about the almost-but-not-quite nature of our Christian living, which yearns for but cannot quite achieve divine perfection. Most of all, Advent summons us to the present moment, to a still yet active, a tranquil yet steadfast commitment to the life we live now…
What is holy in the land stands, more steady even than the limestone bones of the place, the karst frame that even so seems too fragile to support the weight of God’s presence over so many years.

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