First Sunday of Advent, 27 November 2016

Tell Out My Soul” verse 1

“Tell out my soul the greatness of the Lord!

Unnumbered blessings gave my spirit voice;

Tender to me the promise of God’s word;

In God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice.”

by Timothy Dudley-Smith

Isaiah 2 1-5

1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  2  Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills;  and all nations shall flow to it.

3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob;  He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.”  For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

4 He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; 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 anymore.

5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Advent Hope is an annual gift as we prepare for Christmas.  The love that led to the incarnation inspires a hope that can triumph over even the mostly bleak of prospects.  This year in the town of Jesus’s birth there is a need for advent-pic-wallthat hope perhaps as much as in any year of history.  Far from “beating their swords into plowshares” the powers plan on how to use 38 billion dollars to buy arms for the Israeli army – while the plight of Palestinians goes unreported.  There is a palpable sense of hopelessness in the West Bank with a sense that there is now even less hope that the conflict will be resolved in a just settlement on a two state basis.  Yet into that situation of despair comes the prospect of a birth.  God has not deserted God’s people, God weeps at the cruelty of “man’s inhumanity to man,” yet still God so loves the world that he gives his Son, God incarnate.  The angels sing of peace and the Shepherds and Magi search for the hope of humankind.  As we begin Advent once more may the thirst for justice be renewed.  Perhaps this year truly peace on earth might be achieved…  “Tell out my soul the greatness of the Lord!”

Picture:   A Children’s Playground in the shadow of the separation barrier.  At a convent on the Mount of Olives there is a nursery serving local families who used to relate to Bethany and to the E-Sheikh area on the Mount of Olives.  The separation barrier was built through the ground of the convent and now the convent uses the wall as a boundary for its children’s playground.  Access from Bethany is no longer possible.  Photo credit:  Revd.  John Howard.

Written by Revd. John Howard.  Mission Partner, Methodist Church in Britain, Serving in the Methodist Liaison Office, Jerusalem.

 

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