Introduction to the Readings: first Sunday in the season of Advent
Our first reading this morning comes to us from the voice of the prophet, Isaiah,a man thought to have been telling the truth to a community of folk clinging to these words speaking a promise of hope in the middle of turbulent times.
Listen for how God’s word might reveal itself to you in this reading from the second chapter of the book of Isaiah, verses 2 through 5.
“The mountain of God can be a place of peace”
“In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares; and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come let us walk in the light of the Lord!”
Here ends the reading from our ancient texts.
Our responsive hymn this morning comes to us from More Voices, #19 “Maranatha”
Our second reading this morning comes from the gospel according to Matthew. Matthew’s gospel was thought to have been offered to a community of followers gathered together in faith and in hope some 50 years after Jesus walked the earth.
These readings, though challenging to our ear, speak to the hope of those ones longing for the return of their beloved leader, Jesus.
Listen deeply for how God’s word offered through the gospel according to Matthew might have some meaning for those of us gathered together in this particular community of friends, as we gather together in faith and in hope some 2000 years after the fact.
Reading from the 24th Chapter, verses 36-44 “No one knows the hour”
But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, bout only the Father.
For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
For as in those day before the flood they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at unexpected hour.”
Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God, amen.