Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent - November 29

Psalm 5, 6, 10, 11

Amos 3:1-11

2 Peter 1:1-11

Matthew 21:1-11

Keeping a daily scripture reading away from the context of current headlines presents one of the greatest challenges in these days of constant media infusion. The blessing of scripture though, is that it is not meant to be read in isolation from the day of the news. God’s word for us is meant for today and if it was not, it would be a meaningless collection of folksy sayings and historic adventures. Verses from this year’s Advent would fit on many of the “Occupy Whatever” signs calling for justice for the masses.

The Psalms remind us of God’s all-knowing nature even when it seems that the evil around us prospers, His judgment is final and lasting and He sees all even when it seems that wickedness prospers at the expense of the poor and needy around the world. These passages segue nicely into the passage from Amos which warns the powers to be aware of prophets calling out, for as unlikely as they would appear, they do not speak without motivation from God.

Over all of this, Peter reminds us of his “ladder” of virtues that culminates in love. Love once again being the overarching determination of how we are to act toward others around us. Love is the proof of our salvation and the keystone that should mark our behavior as Christians.

Finally, the Matthew passage for today, reminds us of the humility with which Christ walked the earth. Even in the final week when He was set to be betrayed and crucified, He made possibly His grandest public appearance, not being pulled by a tricked out chariot, but on the back of a simple donkey. Sometimes as Christians it is too easy to remember the blessings we are given through the forgiveness of our past sins that we forget the commands to love others.

Just as the prophet Amos reminded the Israelites that they had a special relationship with God and were thus held to a higher standard, in his own way Peter reminds us the same thing. We must develop the virtues of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. He punctuates the passage with the admonition in verse nine saying, “For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.” We have been let off the hook once, now we are commanded to do the right thing.  It is time for us to occupy justice and as the Church again do the right thing without picketers on the street reminding us what it is.