TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1
Isaiah 64:1-9 (NRSV)
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.
FINDING HOPE IN OUR RE-FORMATION
This Advent does not look or feel like any other I have known. In the United States, we recently had a contentious election during an already tense time of social unrest and the global pandemic. As our world and country are deeply hurting and struggling, I can imagine you are, too. I know I am often not at my best. The tension of our trials can certainly test our integrity as people of God.
Isaiah’s words are perfect for us in this time!
Isaiah first laments the way Israel is being threatened by its adversaries. He pleads for God’s presence to come down and intervene with the affairs of the nations. Isaiah’s lament becomes mine when I feel threatened by our politics, our problems, and our pandemic. Isaiah’s plea becomes mine when I ask God to be present in this mess, to intervene and correct the troubles of the nations (that is, according to my way of thinking).
But Isaiah also laments how Israel has been acting. He pleads for God’s presence to be revealed, and for God to reform and reshape the people (like clay in a potter’s hands). Isaiah’s lament becomes mine when I recognize that I too, have behaved badly. Isaiah’s plea then becomes mine when I humbly ask God to reform and reshape me – according to God’s way!
This Advent is a perfect time to take Isaiah’s words to heart. We have ALL become like one who is unclean ~and~ Now consider, we are ALL your people. We are all broken. And we are all God’s. None of us are perfect, but all of us are loved.
Our Advent hope is found in Jesus, who comes to teach us and show us how to live as God’s children. Our Advent hope is found in Isaiah’s example of the potter and the clay. In these trying times, God is holding us. God is holding ALL of us together in love. Even amid our trials – perhaps because of them – we can become like soft clay. As we entrust ourselves into God’s warming and kneading hands, we become pliable enough to be reshaped and reformed into better people.
People who are more like Jesus.
Our reading for Thursday will be 1 Corinthians 1:3-9.
Bible verses taken from https://www.biblegateway.com/