Isaiah promises that the Messiah to come will come as a suffering servant. This would have been an unexpected and unwelcome announcement by those who desired a warrior-like king to redeem them from their enemies. Yet, as Jesus walked the Emmaus Road with the disciples, he likely not only identified himself as the suffering servant, he probably invited the disciples to consider how they might heed God’s call for the faithful to see themselves as freed from the powers of empires that we all might be servants of the Almighty.
Zechariah promises a humble king to come, making his entrance on the back of a the colt of a donkey. This is an unlikely king who comes to rule with the full strength of God’s peace. Make no doubt, it’s overpowering, but in God’s way, not the way of human empires.
In his use of the Hebrew Scriptures to point to his role as God’s Messiah, Jesus probably would have used Micah’s prophecy. Micah, like the other prophets, promises one who is to come who will not rule through militaristic adventures and war mongering. He promises one to come who will be Savior, who will reign with peace and offer a new way to salvation.
WSUMC and Roberts Memorial UMC join together on this Third Day of Christmas to proclaim the Hope, Joy, Peace, Love, and Light of Christ.
There’s power in memory. Mark uses the power of memory in the opening of his Gospel to frame the coming of Christ through the remembrance of God’s saving acts in the history of Israel. Though not all memories are uplifting, the beauty of Advent is the promise that God sends Christ to offer healing and peace into the brokenness and strife.
After a year that presented a plethora of challenges, it may be our desire to skip Advent and dive straight into Christmas. But not so fast! The good news of Emmanuel, God with us, is that we don’t have to skip the weariness and brokenness, or act as if everything is ok. The good news is that God meets us in the darkness. This is Advent.
We hear the word ‘justice’ thrown around a lot these days. “Social justice,” “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” “justice for Breonna Taylor,” and so on. Micah, among other prophets, also used the word as a primary instruction to the people of God, saying, “Do justice.” Before we can understand what it means to ‘do’ this thing called justice, we have to understand what the Bible means by ‘justice’ itself. With over 400 uses in the Biblical text, the Word of God makes clear what is ‘justice.’
It may be Easter in exile, but we are not left on our own to fend for ourselves. We are empowered by the risen Christ to claim that new life, eternal love, and God’s glory are designed for all people. This means not only feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and offering our thoughts and prayers to those who are harmed by the sin of racism; it also means doing the hard work of leading systemic change that keeps people hungry, keeps people homeless, and inequitably causes harm to communities of color.
It is Easter in Exile, and God has a promise, that in Christ, in the resurrection, a new covenant is born. May this season of exile in our lives lead us to claim God’s promise not just for ourselves, but for everyone born, that everyone may know God’s almighty love.
The Biblical text never promises wealth and prosperity to the faithful. What it does promise, is peace, well-being, and unity among the gathered faithful. The English translation fails us when it replaces God’s vision of shalom, with our worldly visions of extravagant wealth.