Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sun. Dec. 9, 2012 (Michael Thomas)

Michael Thomas, on the 2nd Sunday of Advent, noted Handel’s inspiration for The Messiah that we sang the previous Sunday drew from Zechariah, and that this Sunday’s texts are equal to it in inspiration. Beginning by asking ‘What is Advent?’, Michael first noted that as a child, it was equivalent to Christmas, also called “‘Ad-vend’... when merchandisers religiously remind everyone how few shopping days remain til Xmas”. A sacred time that spans both religious tradition and secular culture, it is a time of fearful, joyful and expectant longing for a king who came and is to come again. From the Greek parousia (coming alongside with) Michael noted the day’s text from Malachi 2:17-3:5 appears to give a sunny reassurance to the people of God. Put in its proper context, though, it is reassuring only in terms a prisoner in the dock might find comforting, because the rest of the book presents the Lord’s case against Israel. Malachi’s people see no need to repent and are incredulous that the Lord should take issue with them - “to purify the sons of Levi.” Though the Lord’s messenger is already in his temple, all is not right with the world, so we, like Malachi’s Israel, are to hope and pray for all to be made right. Luke 1:68-79 sings the same hymn of joy at deliverance, telling the story of the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth at the advent of their baby, John the Baptist. After Zechariah’s nine months of silence, the song of joy that explodes from his lips at the birth is a testament to might acts of salvation (soteria) that the Lord performs to all out of his steadfast love and faithfulness (chesed) to his people. Philippians 3:1-11 gives yet more guidance as to how we are to live in the time between Advents - the already-but-not-yet - in confidence that the Lord is still at work in our lives long after Jesus’ time. We too are called to reflect his perfection in our lives in this season of waiting. [AP]

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