Thursday, December 1st

Longing:  An Advent Devotional

Overland Park Church of the Nazarene

Advent 2016

Thursday, December 1st

CONNECT

As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:

Entrance of the Light of Christ (If you family has an advent wreath, light the first candle as you begin.  Otherwise, light a candle in your home to signify the light and presence of Christ as you read aloud this opening call to worship)

Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Come, Lord Jesus!

O God, come to our assistance.  My soul yearns for you in the night.  

Those who sleep in the dust will awake and shout for joy; 

for your dew shines forth with sparkling light, 

and the earth will bring those long dead to birth again.  (Isaiah 26:9, 19)

 

Opening Prayer

Loving God, we rejoice that you have been made known in Christ, the first-born of your creation:  Enable us to live in the knowledge that the entire universe is your domain.  Awaken us to your presence, that we may be faithful stewards of all you have made; through Christ the incarnate Word.  Amen.—Gregory L. Hayes

 

GROW:  ISAIAH 2:1-5

    In times of crisis everyone needs someone they can turn to for help.  In the time of Isaiah a war was upon Jerusalem, known as the Syro-Ephraimitic war, and the enemy waslaying siege to the city.  King Ahaz, the king of Judah, turned to the prophet Isaiah for advice and assurance. 

    Isaiah offered a vision of hope and promise to King Ahaz.  No matter where the present power seems to reside in the world Isaiah’s vision declares all ultimate power to reside with Yahweh.  He goes on to describe in beautiful detail the throngs coming to God’s house, but the closing of the vision is most remarkable given the presence of war in God’s city currently and threat of enemies on all sides.  The judgment of God reveals the false power for what it is:  a pathetic attempt at playing God.  Yet, Yahweh’s reign will make a different use of the weapons of war.  Swords will become plowshares, and spears become pruning hooks.  The kingdom of God will never be a place of hostility and violence.  In the meantime we are called to “lift our sight beyond the challenges and crises of our own time to participate with the generations since Isaiah in the hope for a world transformed by the final goal of peace and harmony toward which God is moving us.”

SERVE

Advent is a season when we are called and challenged to live in peace with God and with one another.  The Lord has brought peace to us in Jesus Christ, but what about the relationships we share with one another.  Take significant time today to pray for someone with whom you have conflict or disagreement.  Pray the best for them.  Pray God’s blessing over them.  Allow God to heal your heart toward them.

Closing Hymn

Comfort, comfort now my people, 

Tell of peace, thus says our God;

Comfort those who sit in darkness

Bowed beneath oppression’s load.

Speak you to Jerusalem

Of the peace that waits for them; 

Tell them that their sins I cover,

And their warfare now is over.

 

For the herald’s voice is calling

In the desert far and near,

Bidding us to make repentance

Since the kingdom now is here.

O that warning cry obey!

Now prepare for God a way;

Let the valley rise in meeting

And the hills bow down in greeting.

 

Make you straight what long was crooked,

Make the rougher places plain;

Let your hearts be true and humble,

As befits God’s holy reign.

For the glory of the Lord

Now o’er earth is shed abroad;

And all flesh shall see the token 

That God’s word is never broken.

—Johannes Olearius, trans. by Catherine Winkworth

--Pastor Phil Hamner