Advent Wonderings

Psalm 80:3 (refrain) Restore us, O God, make your face shine on us that we may be saved.

Isaiah 64:4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

I Corinthians 1:4,7,9 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus . . . you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed . . . God is faithful who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

One of my spiritual practices is reading the Bible verses from each Sunday’s readings in the Revised Common Lectionary. You may know that if you read the assigned verses every day, you will have eventually read all of the Bible over a period of time. I have not been able to be faithful to that practice daily, and I settled on just reading the Sunday verses. So, when I thought about writing a devotional for Advent, I thought a good place to start was with the verses assigned for November 29. I thought there would be some verses about John the Baptist crying in the wilderness about the coming of the Lord. Wrong! As I read the texts, I heard trouble, trouble, trouble. But, on closer reading I found golden nuggets of hope and trust.

During this time of turmoil and chaos, I have wanted so much for God to just fix it all. And, at other times, I think I know what everyone should do to eradicate the virus, elect the “right” person, or stop all the unrest. Sometimes, I think that my family and friends have abandoned me, and I feel lost and lonely. What or who can I trust and count on? God, myself, or other people? Maybe all of them. But, primarily, I must trust God’s goodness, grace, and faithfulness.

There are a couple of ways I can rest my mind and my emotions and sink into God’s presence. Sitting in silence, centering in God’s presence, is one of my practices. Letting go of my thoughts of gloom or fear or self-righteousness opens up space in my soul for hope and trust. Then, with my mind somewhat cleared, I can hear more clearly the promises of scripture. I read the Advent scriptures again. I cry out to God for restoration (Psalm). In Isaiah He answers me that He acts on my behalf (even when I don’t recognize it). Paul encourages me through his words of trust in the faithful people of the church. God’s grace and faithfulness abides in me and in those of my family and friends. And finally, nothing on this earth is permanent—it will all pass away at some point, but God through His Son and the Holy Spirit will keep the promises recorded by the faithful in the Scriptures. And, instead of focusing on trouble, trouble, trouble, I will focus on those promises, and in them find my hope and trust.

Prayer: Lord, when I am weak and do not trust You, when I trust in my own strength instead of Yours, or when I feel lonely and abandoned, come to me, restore me, and give me Your faithful presence.

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Sit at the Well

Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well is my favorite story in the Gospels. How would I have felt if I had been that woman? I believe I would have begun to finally believe I had a purpose in life–that it wasn’t all drudgery, that I could stop and have a conversation that had meaning and that gave me confidence. In this blog I want to continue talking with Jesus and sharing those talks with you.