This Weeks Notes ~ November 28, 2021
Advent seems to be a season for feeling a little bit out of kilter.
It is a period of waiting, waiting in the darkness. During this season we are caught between joyful expectation and the harsh realities of our present condition while we wait for the promise to be fulfilled. The discipline of this season puts the church at odds with contemporary American culture, in which the holiday season consists of bright lights and celebrations and packages tied with neat bows. There is no room for darkness and little patience for prayerful expectation when holiday carols are heard from every speaker and the neighborhood is glowing with displays of lights. Yet, this experience of being out of sync with our surroundings may attune us more deeply to the nature of Advent. In Advent, we live in the unsettling tension between what is and what will be.
The prophet Jeremiah speaks to a community that is acutely aware of this tension. Jerusalem was completely devastated during the Babylonian invasion of 587 BCE. The inhabitants of Israel have been scattered from their homeland. They have been living as conquered people in Babylonian captivity. For those living in exile, their way of life has been completely overturned. Their sense of security has been violated. They have no idea if they will live to see their home again. And this leads to some theological questions: where is God in the midst of this? Why did such devastation happen? Is God present in exile? What happened to the covenant with David? Will God allow them to return home again? Is the grace of the covenant promises made long ago still have an effect on this generation and for their children?
In Advent, the church offers a different reality that grows out of confidence in God’s righteousness. The promise of God’s righteousness both convicts and makes new. Advent invites us to name the places in our lives and society that are at odds with the divine vision of justice and righteousness. There may be a wide gap between what is and what we wish. Yet the promise of this Righteous Branch of David is what Advent is all about, the Lord is our righteousness. This promise allows us to proclaim an alternative reality in which all things will be made new.
Thanks be to God!
Join us for In-Person Worship or on-line at 11:00 where we will talk about this “Righteous Branch”
“I don’t know how, but I know WHO!
Grace and Peace, Pastor Nelda
Dr. Nelda Barrett Murraine is pastor at First United Methodist Church – PO Box 146 – 229 W 4th St. – Kennedale, TX 76060
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