Archives For StayWokeAdvent

2155967132_a40428343e_z

Second Sunday of Advent – Year B

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

1  YHWH, you have been favorable to your land,

you renewed Jacob’s fortunes.

 2  You carried your people’s waywardness,

you covered all their offenses. Selah

 8  I will listen to what YHWH God will speak,

because he will speak of shalom

   to his people and to those committed to him,

those who must not turn to folly.

 9  Yes, his deliverance is near for people who are in awe of him,

so that his honor may settle in our land.

10 Commitment and truthfulness—they have met;

faithfulness and shalom—they have embraced.

11 Truthfulness—it springs up from the earth;

faithfulness—it has looked down from the heavens.

12 Yes, YHWH—he will give good things;

our land—it will give its increase.

13 Faithfulness—it will walk before him

as he sets his feet on the path.

The psalm for the Second Sunday in Advent is at first blush rather unassuming. It is almost docile. The first two verses roll easily off the lips of someone like me, a white American evangelical protestant male. Indeed, it is easy for me to agree that God has been favorable to the land in which I live and that in Jesus Christ, God has covered all my offenses.

But this only betrays a lazy, superficial reading of the text which ignores the psalm’s historical and cultural contexts. I make the grave error of equating YHWH’s land with my country, of Jacob’s fortunes with my bank account balance, of reducing the offenses of Israel to my own individual sin, errors evangelicals make too often when approaching the Hebrew scriptures. In doing so, I turn the psalm into an affirmation of my individual piety and miss out on the astonishing claims of the psalm for God’s beloved community. Continue Reading…

Stay Woke This Advent

November 30, 2014 — Leave a comment

IMG_0414.JPG

It is the first day of Advent; New Year’s Day for the church. Today, we enter into a season marked by waiting and by hope. With great expectation we wait for the promised one, the messiah, Christ, to come and deliver us just as the prophets said he would. After his resurrection, Jesus said he would come again and finish the establishment of his kingdom, so we wait. We wait and we keep watch. To guide our waiting, we look back and remember what it was like to wait for his first coming. We turn again to the manger.

Yet, it’s been a long time since Jesus entered into the world, walked upon it, displayed his power, and testified to his upside down reign. It’s been a long time since he gave us his charge to proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the imprisoned, open the eyes of the blind, set the oppressed free, and declare that this is the year of the Lord’s favor. It’s been a long time.

Is he really coming back? He didn’t come back last year, or the year before that. Perhaps he forgot. Perhaps his return is something our far distant descendants will have to deal with. Perhaps we should not worry about such things. Perhaps we should just get on with our lives.

Jesus had something to say about that: Continue Reading…