Through Advent I will be sharing some thoughts pertaining to how the weekly lectionary scriptures are speaking into our family and the families we gather with every week.
Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12
Every night, as she is tucked into her bed, Anah asks, “Tell me a story please.” It has become a routine/practice that makes both the process of going to bed and falling to sleep a more peaceful process. But ever since Sunday, when our families marked the beginning of Advent together, Anah has asked “Tell me a baby-Jesus story please.”
Last week I wrote about the practice of mealing. It is a macro-practice of Christian community; a holy act (practice) of hospitality, remembrance, abundance, graditude and grace. The second week of Advent highlights another macro-practice of Christian community; storying.
As I read through the scriptures for the second Sunday of Advent, the authors use of imagination stood out to me. It seems that Advent is calling our own imaginations to account for how we see the world.
Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Isaiah 11:9 “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
Psalm 72:19 “Blessed be his glorious name forever; may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.”
The authors of these passages are telling a story that is much different than what is often told in the world (and many churches). Their eschatology was rooted in promises of peace and justice (Isaiah). Scarcity and hunger were being eliminated by abundance (Psalm). Hostility, war, and fear were being negated by neighborliness (Romans). Oppression, separation, and abuse of power are being called to surrender all authority to a Kingdom of peace (Matthew).
The prophets, disciples, and the early Church understood they were charged with the responsibility of telling a different kind of story. A gospel story. A story of good news. It is still the responsibility of the Church to story one another toward good news. Storying is a practice of Christian community.
If we are attentive in the season of Advent, if we put on a Jesus-formed imagination, we will discover Jesus wasn’t interested in creating or organizing a new religion. Jesus wasn’t interested in an exclusive people who would be known by a distinctive title separating themselves from others. Jesus didn’t desire nor was entertained by empty patterns of songs and words. Jesus wants our attention to shift away from lofty, religious performance and toward the meek, low, simple, and everyday grounded nature of humanity and creation. “God became flesh” is enough theology to find our way into Jesus’ world. “Fear not” is enough instruction to live in Jesus’ world. “Good news” is enough description to see Jesus’ future.
So, in this second week of Advent, let’s tell a Story. Let’s be a community who is attuned to good news. Let’s practice storying; the formation of a Christian imagination. Let’s be a people who show and tell how peace and grace are invading the whole earth.