We have been journeying with the Hebrew Bible since Labor Day, knowing that we must understand the Jewish roots of our faith in order to understand Jesus, his work, his mission. The Prophets—the eclectic group of wisdom teachers who spoke truth to power during Ancient Israel’s greatest crises—will be leading us through the rest of 2018, until Jesus appears to the world on Christmas, and ushers in a New Testament…a New Covenant…a New Era.
As we’ve been studying the Prophets closely in the last weeks, it has dawned on me that one central quality that all the Prophets have in common is their ability to speak to the Oneness of the Universe. For other leaders in various positions of power, the world could be divided into separate spheres of power. For Kings it was the realm of politics. For Priests, their primary concern was the institution of the Temple. Ordinary citizens were primarily concerned with the economy and their own survival. It was only the Prophets who saw all these things as being completely connected…all of them beginning and ending with the One God who created and guided the universe.
The questions that the Prophets ask, the questions they provoke, are all pointed toward a universe that is reconciled as One with God. In the life of our church—and the individual lives that are touched by our church—I have heard questions being asked over and over, questions that indicate the obstacles that prevents us from being able to perceive this sense of At-one-ment with God and all Creation:
Who is deserving? What do I desire? From where do power and authority come? Why am I alive? How am I supposed to live in this moment? When will I live my best life? And thee’s a seventh question we ask whenever we encounter something genuinely new or tragically unexpected: What is this, and what does it mean?
The Season of Advent…the season when we prepare ourselves to receive God in our midst….the season we prepare to proclaim that The Divine was made known in human form…and that human form was a poor baby, born out of wedlock to migrant parents on the run from their violent government…this is the season that implores us to address that first question: Who is deserving? Who is deserving of love, forgiveness, justice, mercy? Is anyone, for any reason, undeserving of safety, acceptance, life, liberty?
Preparing to receive God forces us to challenge our own assumptions and expectations. It’s a process and a practice that gets us to see God in ourselves and in one another. It re-orders and re-organizes our lives until we find ourselves gathered in an ever-expanding circle of God’s One Beloved Creation.
What questions do you bring with you this season? We look forward to gathering with you and exploring those questions together.
Peace and Grace be with all,