2017 Advent Devo 9

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Torn Open

Read Isaiah 64:1-9

What a remarkable and surprising prayer by the prophet: “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!”  Isaiah — speaking on Israel’s behalf — believes that God is capable not only of entering the plight of humankind, but also willing to do so.

Israel has endured much in their exile.  They sense among themselves a deep need for God to make himself overwhelmingly known, as in Israel's past in Egypt and at Sinai.  They hope for God to subdue their enemies and make life-space for them in the world again.  Yet, they also pray that God would remember them and forgive the ways that they might have participated in the enmity they are experiencing, in the breakdown of relationships, and their shared faith.

During Advent we center on the comings of Jesus, both his birth in Bethlehem and his coming at the end, when all things will be made new.  Isaiah’s plea, which is really a prayer, understands that God’s coming has never ceased, that God is always coming into the world, ready to draw close to those who are oppressed, reconciling divisions, and healing strife.

I wonder, as divisive and uncertain as our time has become, if we trust God as capable and willing to tear open heavens and draw near to us in Jesus, to subdue oppressive powers and rulers, to lift up the lowly, and set free those who walk in darkness.

How differently would we live in our time if we expected God to show up?

As we look for God’s many comings into the world, let us consider with the prophet that we are all God’s people.  For to love God means that we must love our neighbor; and in loving our neighbor, we are loving God.

Prayer:  Gracious God, tear open the heavens and come down, not just into the empty spaces of our hearts, but also into the chasms that exist among your hurting and divided children.  Help your Church to live faithfully between the comings of Christ.  Allow your love to take on flesh in us.  Amen.

- Patrick Murphy


Last Published: December 4, 2017 3:11 PM
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