First Sunday of Advent …
The Foolishness of the Gospel (God [Messing] With Us) – While lights, carols, pageants, decorations, family, food and gifts will predominate, the lectionary readings for Advent come from the prophet Isaiah, and the message of the prophet Isaiah is far brighter than any Christmas lights. We begin a new series in December – The Foolishness of the Gospel (God [Messing] With Us). Each message is inspired by the lectionary readings for Advent from the Book of Isaiah. We begin this week with the text from Isaiah 2:4. God judges the nations and a miracle happens. Swords morph into plowshares. Implements of war become instruments of hope. Instead of bloodying the fields, we will plow them, plant them, and harvest them. They shall not learn war any more.
Is this an idealistic vision? Can we even imagine it, to say nothing of believing it can actually come to pass? It seems we don’t even go through the motions of “declaring” war these days; like a low grade infection it is always with us. The military has become an “industrial complex”, a major source of our economy. This was true in First Century Palestine with Rome holding Israel (and other nations) in check.
Without denying the sacrifices so many women and men make in our armed services, and without trivializing the fact of evil in the world, today, we explore the Christmas question of peace. Jesus is called “Wonderful Counselor; Prince of Peace”. Is it possible? What might it look like and feel like to us?
Today we reflect on The Relevance of an Impossible Ideal.
Message: The Relevance of an Impossible Ideal
Calling Heaven – Michael W. Smith
Letters from “The Christmas Truce”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat Of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Till, ringing singing, on its way, The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime, Of peace on earth, good will to men!