Monday, December 10, 2018

Waiting


Daily reading: Isaiah 40:1-11
Monday December 10, 2018

Focus passage: Go up on a high mountain, messenger Zion!  Raise your voice and shout, messenger Jerusalem!  Raise it; don’t be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” Isaiah 40:9


What was the high point of your day?  What was the low point of your day?

What are you currently waiting for? 


Have you ever noticed that there are different kinds of waiting?  There is the somewhat pointless waiting that happens when we are standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for our turn to check out.  There is the waiting that happens at a red light, or in the car line waiting for kids to get out of school.  In those instances you are only paused for a moment until you move forward.  And depending upon how quickly you need to get somewhere, it can be anxious waiting.

Then there is kind of waiting that matters.  It is the waiting that makes it hard to focus on everyday tasks because you are waiting to find out an answer. This type of waiting happens when you are waiting for the doctor to give you test results.  There is the waiting that happens when you wait to hear if you got the job.  There is the waiting to see if you will be chosen for jury duty.  This type of waiting carries more weight because the news of what you are waiting for has the potential to change your life or that the very least your day.

Advent is a time of active waiting, of preparing for God to come and do something new and amazing in your life.

Take time today to think about what you are waiting for God to do in your life.

Prayer: God who calls us away from our daily routines, who desires us to follow you on unknown paths, open me to your presence today.  Amen.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Longing for Peace


Daily reading: Esther 4:1-17
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Focus passage:  But who knows?  Maybe it was for a moment like this that you came to be part of the royal family.” Esther 4:14b


When was the last time you embodied courage?

As Queen and as a Jewish woman, Esther is in a unique position to save her people.  What Esther has so carefully hidden now needs to be revealed. Through Mordecai’s wise counsel, Esther receives the courage she needs to work for the peace for her people when they are under imminent threat.  

She seeks out the support of the Jews in her own community to join her in fasting and prayer as she prepares to approach the king without being summoned, an offense that can result in death. In the chaos of the court, Esther is able to speak truth to power, changing the course of action which allowed the Jews to defend themselves on the day of attack.  Revealing the reality that the solution rarely is a complete reversal. It is always almost always layered and complex.

This passage of scripture causes us to pause and ask when we need courage “for such a time as this.”   When might we need to come out from the shadows and be an agent for peace?

Who might be speaking to us reminding us of God’s still small voice?

Longing does not mean inaction. Rather it often is the basis for seeking faithful responses in moments of unrest and chaos, “in a time such as this.”

Prayer: Holy One give us courage to speak out for the vulnerable and for those in need.  May we help to usher in your peaceable kingdom.  Amen.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Stay Alert


Daily reading: Mark 13:24-37
Saturday December 8, 2018

Focus passage: What I say to you, I say to all: Stay Alert! Mark 13:37

Mark invites us to actively wait for Christ, to pray for God’s presence, for God’s justice. 
We wait for Christ, because we acknowledge that our world is broken and is in need of healing. 
We wait for Christ because we acknowledge that we are broken and we cause brokenness. 
We wait for Christ because in our active state of being alert together we are awakened to Christ’s presence. 

Prayer:  God of waiting people, activate our waiting.  Amen.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Waiting in hope


Daily reading: Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:2-4, 3:17-19
Friday December 7, 2018

Focus passage: I will rejoice in the LORD.  I will rejoice in the God of my deliverance. Habakkuk 3:18

We faithfully wait even though the fig tree does not blossom,
even though there is no fruit on the vines,
even though the olive tree fails to produce a crop,
and the fields lay fallow, and the livestock are gone …

Even in complete desolation, we are called to join Habakkuk in our rejoicing in God, who gives us the strength to wait. 
Knowing that in our waiting, God is present.

In our ordinary moments,
In our painful moments,
In our disjointed or heartbreaking moments,
because there is no place where God refuses to go.

Prayer:  Patient God create an active space of waiting in my life today.  Amen.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Hope helps us to return


Daily reading: 2 Kings 22:1-10, 23:1-3
Thursday December 6, 2018

Focus passage: the king sent a message, and all of Judah’s and Jerusalem’s elders gathered before him.  Then the king went up to the LORD’s temple, together with all the people of Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets, and all the people, young and old alike.  There the king read out loud all the words of the covenant scroll that had been found in the LORD’s
temple.  2 Kings 23:1-2

Every year before our two major holy days in the church year, Christmas and Easter, we have intentional seasons preceding them that are centered upon introspection and reflection and preparation.  Like the stories shared about the people in the bible, we too need to return to God.  We too need to examine our lives and take time to change and turn more fully toward God.  We too need to remember in the greatest consumer season of the secular world that we are called to put God first in our lives.
We have a different message in this place during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is a message grounded in hope, peace, joy and love.  It reminds us that we have a specific calling to be the body of Christ in a broken and fragile world. 
And so we enter into the story today and we join with Josiah and the people of his time, in hearing God’s call to come back.   We join in the process of renewal and transformation that comes from being in community that is centered upon the Word of God.

Prayer:  God of all beginnings and fresh starts bring your hope into our lives today.  Amen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Stay Awake


Daily reading: Mark 13:24-37
Wednesday December 5, 2018

Focus passage: Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming.  Mark 13:33

We are called to stay awake and alert because incarnation is risky business. 
The universe will reverberate with the coming of Christ as the sun and moon become dark, stars will fall from the sky and other heavenly bodies will shake as angels come to gather the chosen people. 
In other words, this second Advent will be the end of the world as we know it.  This coming of Christ is completely and utterly out of our hands and that is hard for us to grasp hold of.   
It reminds us that we are not God and we cannot control or protect God. 
The seasons will change, kings will rise and fall from power, nations will too rise and fall, but God will remain constant. 
No one knows when the day or hour will come.  But for those who watch and wait, they will know the time is coming near just as we know when the seasons are changing. 

Prayer:  Holy one, awaken us to your presence this Advent season.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hope in the darkest nights


Daily reading: 2 Kings 22:1-10, 23:1-3
Tuesday December 4, 2018

Focus passage: “Go to the high priest Hilkiah.  Have him carefully count the money that has been brought the LORD’s temple and that has been collected from the people by the doorkeepers.  It should be given to the supervisors in charge of the LORD’s temple, who in turn should pay it to those who are in the LORD’s temple, repairing the temple.
 -  2 Kings 22:4-5

Hope is what gives way in the darkest nights and pushes us to live into a reality not yet here.  Josiah came to throne in a time of uncertainty and darkness.  His actions embodied hope for the people.
The kings before him allowed the worship of other gods even in God’s holy temple.  Josiah is concerned with the state of disrepair he finds the temple in and so he sends word to the high priests to hire skilled workers to repair it.  While they are repairing the temple, Hilkiah, one of the temple priests, finds the scroll of the Lord, which means the Torah.
Are there aspects of your relationship with God that are in need of repair?
Is there someone in your life that you have a strained relationship with?  Be in prayer for God to help you discern how to mend that relationship or if need be break from it.

Prayer:  God of all beginnings and fresh starts bring your hope into our lives today.  Amen.

Waiting

Daily reading: Isaiah 40:1-11 Monday December 10, 2018 Focus passage:  Go up on a high mountain, messenger Zion!  Raise your voice a...