Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
As we move into the second half of the Advent season, our readings turn to a hopeful kind of peace, still driven by the promise of the coming of the Lord. In Isaiah 40:1-11, we are told of the comfort to be spoken to God’s people. Their trouble is coming to an end. There’s no need to fear, because God is on his way.
Some years ago I saw a series of billboards trying to encourage people to turn to God in faith. Actually, that isn’t quite right. They were trying to scare people to turn to God in faith. They asked questions such as, “How will you answer when God asks you what you did for the least of His people?” One of them, with virtually no graphic, just a stark black background, said, “Don’t make me come down there.” - God - How different this is from the picture we are given in Isaiah. What will happen when God comes down here? His arm rules, he sends his reward, he gathers his lambs, he carries them, he leads those with young. Oh, I want God to come down here. I need to be guided. I look forward to a reward. I am identified in Scripture as a sheep that needs his leadership, and he is the good and gentle leader. We don’t try to scare people into God’s kingdom. No, when we confront our world with the truth, it is frightening enough. These people are scared. They need to confront their fear and be confronted with the fact that they really ought to be scared to death in sin and shame, but that Jesus insisted on dying in their place.
Is God still coming to end the world? Yes. He says that the grass withers, the flowers die, but his word, which gives life, will endure. May we decrease and God increase. Come, Lord Jesus.
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