Advent, Longing, Justice, and Ferguson

We come to the first Sunday of Advent. It is a season of longing. We think of the longing in Israel as they wanted Messiah to come. We also reflect on the desire we need in our own lives to anticipate Jesus and his return.

It is in that sense of longing we also need to reflect on what we long for in this “between” time. It is reflection of the now and the not yet. It is to be reminded that we have work to do on this earth in the name of our King.

It’s not just about Ferguson, MO, but Ferguson gives us a conversation starter. (It does not give us a bumper sticker political grenade lobbing starter.) As I prepare for Sunday and think on Daniel 1, I also reflect on the readings for Advent. Isa. 64:1-9 is one of those places.

When it comes to a conversation needed, when it comes to Kingdom ideas of justice and reconciliation, my first prayer is in verse 1. We really need God to tear open heaven and come down. And we need to listen. 

Hear our prayers, O Lord!

If only you would tear open the heavens and come down!
    Mountains would quake before you
    like fire igniting brushwood or making water boil.
If you would make your name known to your enemies,
    the nations would tremble in your presence.

When you accomplished wonders beyond all our expectations;
    when you came down, mountains quaked before you.
From ancient times,
    no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
    no eye has seen any god but you
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him!
You look after those who gladly do right;
    they will praise you for your ways.
But you were angry when we sinned;
    you hid yourself when we did wrong.
We have all become like the unclean;
    all our righteous deeds are like a menstrual rag.
All of us wither like a leaf;
    our sins, like the wind, carry us away.
No one calls on your name;
    no one bothers to hold on to you,
    for you have hidden yourself from us,
    and have handed us over to our sin.

But now, Lord, you are our father.
    We are the clay, and you are our potter.
    All of us are the work of your hand.
Don’t rage so fiercely, Lord;
    don’t hold our sins against us forever,
    but gaze now on your people, all of us: (Isa. 64:1-9)

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