Isaiah 11:1-10. Isaiah proclaims the coming of the “shoot from the stump of Jesse”who, through God’s Spirit resting on him, will bring peace, justice, righteousness and equity to the earth.
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-21. A prayer for the King to rule wisely and justly, protecting the weak and vulnerable and refreshing the world and the godly who live in it.
Romans 15:4-13. Paul’s prayer that God may empower the Church to live in harmony, since Christ came for both Jew and Gentile, and together they form one voice of praise to God.
Matthew 3:1-12. John the Baptist preaches in the wilderness, baptising those who repent, speaking out against the corrupt religious leaders, and challenging people to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah.
Rev Tania writes: This second week in Advent draws us into the possibilities of real peace for us and our world – God’s Shalom realm. Ironically, there is so much in this time of year that works against a sense of peace. What would it mean if we really began to embrace the peace, the mutuality, the community and the radical love of the Gospel? These are the very powerful and practical challenges of the Lectionary this week.
From the dream of the future world where God’s reign is actively and visibly manifest, the Lectionary now moves to the promise of the Messiah, and the harmony and justice he will bring. Both dreams are essentially one – that God’s Reign will take root among us bringing in a world in which the weak and vulnerable are cared for, in which justice prevails and in which all people live in harmony in spite of (or maybe even because of) their differences. Perhaps the word that best sums up the Messianic dream of this week, and which John proclaimed, is the word “shalom” – well-being, peace, salvation, harmony, goodness, justice are all implied in this word. Isaiah proclaims it in the image of predators living in harmony with their prey.
The Psalmist uses the word ‘shalom’ in describing the peaceful refreshed world for which he prays. Paul pictures Jew and Gentile as one celebratory voice offered to God in worship, and John the Baptist, while speaking of judgement, which may seem to be the opposite of shalom, invites people to be ready for the coming of the Messiah who will immerse people in God’s Holy Spirit. God’s presence and power are available to all, irrespective of title, position or background – this is, perhaps the ultimate shalom!
May our worship lead us into God’s Shalom and transforms us into agents of Shalom in every moment, every situation and every interaction.
Blessings as we wait, watch, pray and long for God to come among us! – Rev Tania