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ADVENT: DAY 26

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The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.  You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.  For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.  For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.  For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.  He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”—Isaiah 9:2-7

 

 

The people who walked in darkness 

Have seen a great light

Those who lived in a land of deep darkness

On them light has shined

 

Dark: a descriptor we synonymize with

Ignorant.

Uncivilized.

Depressed.

Violent.

Scary.

Evil.

 

Dark: a descriptor we apply to

Skin.

People.

Land.

 

The dark continent

The heart of darkness

 

But these connotations, these associations, these applications come from

White.

Power.

 

The Wonderful Counselor read in the Scriptures that

Black is beautiful.

 

The Mighty God knew history and praised

The Queen of the South.

 

The Everlasting Father lived in

Egypt, on the dark continent

 

The Prince of Peace was 

Dark-skinned 

 

The people who walked in darkness 

Have seen a great light

Those who lived in a land of deep darkness

On them light has shined

 

In other words:

The people who walked in darkness walked in beauty

They have seen a great light, for light shines brightest in the fabric of darkness

Those who lived in a land of deep darkness lived in the land of the Queen of the South

On them light has shined, for that light chose to become incarnate in their flesh

 

This light of darkness has broken

Their yoke of burden 

The bar across their shoulders

The rod of their oppressor 

 

As on the day of Midian

So it will be again

And again

Until there is justice and righteousness

Until there is true peace

 

 

A child has been born for us

A son given to us

Authority rests upon his shoulders 

 

And he is named

 

Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God

Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace

Posted December 24, 2015

 

ADVENT: DAY 25

Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church - Outreach - Blogs - TEEZing Out The Roots

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’  We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.  So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed.  You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”—2 Peter 1:16-21

 

We have before us either an eyewitness account or an account of an eyewitness account that has been handed down within the Petrine community.  I have often wondered what it would have been like to have been there.  While wondering this, I wonder how I would have responded to the person and movement of Jesus of Nazareth.  Would it be easier to believe that he was the Son of God and a person of the Triune God if we also heard the Majestic Glory declare, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased”?  Or, would it be more difficult since we would know him as a friend, a brother in the flesh?  I am guessing that the latter would actually prevail.  Most of the disciples, his closest comrades, seemed to have never figured out the full significance of the identity of their teacher until his resurrection. 

 

In the very beginning the shepherds and the wise men seemed to get it.  Yet, no matter how much we celebrate their presence in our nativity scenes and plays, we do not really see them again throughout the rest of the gospels.  The demons got it, but theirs is not exactly the example we want to follow.  Even though Peter famously declared it, he clearly did not believe strongly enough to stop his denials.

 

Mary got it.  John the Baptist got it.  The hemorrhaging woman got it.  The woman with the expensive oil got it. The prisoner hanging next to Jesus got it.  These are all people whose actions and words reiterated those of the Majestic Glory—“This is God’s Son, God’s Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.”  Mary was there at his birth.  John was there as they grew up and started their public ministries.  The hemorrhaging woman was there when he was so popular that thick crowds hemmed him in on all sides.  The woman with the expensive oil was there as he prepared to meet his end.  The prisoner was there as he died.  At each step along his journey of life, somebody was there to proclaim his true identity.  These were men and women moved by the Holy Spirit.

 

I think it is ok that most people did not get it.  I think it is ok that most of us still do not fully get it.  How can we fully grasp a concept like the Incarnation?  We can get bits and pieces of it, though, if we seek out the men and women whose lives speak the voice of Majestic Glory.  The good news is that through the Incarnation did come to know each and every one of us in the fullness of our identities.  Hallelujah!

Posted December 23, 2015

 

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Being planted in the rich soils of Zambia to inspire regrowth at home. “Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit” -Matthew 13:8