December 1, 2019

I Advent 2019

Passage: Isaiah 2:1-5; Matthew 24:36-44

Awaken our hearts for your reign is near, the Peaceable Kingdom is in our hands.
Let no injury nor hate be a guest within the kingdom of our hearts. Arise, Advent’s God,
and bring that peaceable kingdom to our hearts and hands. Amen.

Often when asked people will say they believe in God but are unsure about the extent of their faith. Others when asked are very definite about belief and faith. We, followers of the Christ, are called to be agnostics. Not unsure, but unknowing. People who do not know but people called to be ready. Advent is such a time. Be ready…be prepared!
There is a sense of preparedness in our days of Advent. But in our world at large
there is a sense of unknowing. When will God come to set things aright? When will war cease? When will peace become a reality? The prophetic words from both Hebrew Scripture and Gospel lay out the future reign of God.
In the days of first Isaiah which takes place some time before the exile of Israel to Babylon, the people were called to make pilgrimages. Not just anywhere but to Mount Zion or in realistic terms, Jerusalem, the holy city of God. A pilgrimage of seeking.
What might God teach them and how can they seek God’s peace along the way.
Many peoples still make pilgrimages. Followers of Muhammed go to Mecca. Followers of Yahweh go to Israel. Followers of Jesus go to Bethlehem, Nazareth, Golgotha.
During the years of the Crusades many went to free the Holy Land and died along the way. Pilgrimages are a part of every religion and every time period. But one need not go anywhere to make a pilgrimage. We have begun one right here and it is called Advent. A pilgrimage toward the coming of the Child, a pilgrimage of hearing Scripture,
a pilgrimage of a vision toward peace. And that vision is one of God’s reign here on earth that will exist with no war, no spears of swords but instead weapons to provide food for the body and food for the spirit. God’s reign as prophesied by Isaiah is a reign of obedience and transformation. God’s reign is for all peoples in all places. It is a longing for peace that has yet to exist. But the people engaged in such transformative
physical actions as plowing and pruning actually become the peacemakers.
Which is where we land this first Sunday of Advent. We are called to be peacemakers
with our families, with our friends, with enemies across the world. The Scripture does not solve how to make peace. The Scripture only says to do it! For God wills the end of war and the constancy of peace. The promise from Isaiah is the promise of the once and future peaceable ruler who will one day rule in such a peace.
And to be those people of peace we must awake from our lethargy.For Jesus in speaking of the days of Noah was not reminding us of the flood but of inattention.
Life going on as usual. And we all get caught up in our lives and do not stay spiritually awake. The people of God have been called from every age and nation to be awake,
to be peaceable, to do deeds of mercy, to offer forgiveness, to be urgent about prayer.
This is our focus this season: becoming peacemakers and being ready for Jesus’
future reign. We do not know and in that not knowing, in that agnosticism we are prepared and we are urgent in our prayer for peace. Even so Come Lord Jesus! Amen.

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