Submitted by Jan on Tue, 22/11/2016 – 10:54
First Sunday of Advent
Year A (2016-2017)
Bible Book: Isaiah
Verse: 1 – 5
Selected verses: Isaiah 2:1-5;Ps 122; Romans 13:11-14 and Matthew 24:36-44
The readings set for today, this fourth Sunday in November, are centered around the whole idea of Jesus’ coming again. He came for the first time over 2000 years ago and His Word tells us that He will come again…we find ourselves living in the period BETWEEN; in a ‘now and not yet time’. This begs the question: How should we then live?
Matthew 24:36 starts us off with a bold statement as to the timing of Jesus’ return:
…concerning that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (ESV own emphasis). This said, Matthew continues the theme of the ‘suddenness’ of this day when Jesus will return – two will be in a field and one will be taken (to be with Christ); two will be grinding at the mill and one will be taken..
On an easier note, Isaiah, writing centuries before, gives us some idea of how it will be when Jesus comes again, when he says this:
He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their ploughs into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.(ESV Isaiah 2:4).
I also love the picture of Jerusalem which in this context, I believe, could be a synonym for God Himself and given here by the Psalmist of 122- …May they be secure who love you!…and may there be peace within your walls and security within your towers (ESV Ps 122:6,7). In the context of living with a chronic illness such as HIV, how much do we need to love God and because of this, to know His peace in our’ walls’ and His security within our ‘towers’.
But to return to my question: How should we then live?
Matthew calls us to be ready, for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect (24:44)
Isaiah bids us ‘walk in the light of the LORD’ (Isaiah 2: 5)
Paul, in writing to the Romans expands on the idea of light, when he writes: let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime…(Romans 13:12b,13a. ESV own emphasis).
May we, each in our own spaces of darkness, ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help us to love Him with all our hearts and to help us to walk in His light. I believe that in so doing we can know His peace within our walls and His security within our towers
To think about: How should we then live?
Written by: Rev. Jessica McCarter, Assistant Priest at St James Anglican Church, Ladybrand. Diocese of the Free State, and trained ‘Churches, Channel of Hope’ Facilitator.
Author: McCarter (Ms)