Readings: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, Mark 13:24-37
Advent 1: Our focus for this week is: Hope. Final Christian hope has always been rooted in the Second Coming of Christ, at which time he will put the world back in its rightful state—no more unrelenting pain, desperate injustices or bitter crying. Because of the first coming of Jesus wherein he inaugurated God’s kingdom on earth, this reality is, in part and imperfectly, already among us.
Interaction with the kingdom already among us requires periodic inaction; pauses from trying to make it in our world so that we can be attentive to loving God and our neighbor. Without this attentiveness we lose hope. The world is too changeable and flimsy. God and his kingdom are sure and unshakable.
Brueggemann suggests that the rest of God is in stark contrast to the “gods of Egypt”. “The gods”, he writes, “are confiscatory; they demand endless production and authorize endless systems of production that are, in principle, insatiable.” The governance of God, on the other hand, as seen in the creation accounts of Genesis “is not marked by workaholism, by anxiety over the full-functioning of creation or by the notion that creation depends on endless work.”
· Do you feel trapped between what seems to be the competing claims of “the gods” verses God?
· Why? Do an honest inventory: what do you get out of endless productivity? What might you be missing in God’s gift of rest?
· What do you fear about rest, about disconnection from the world or about inactivity?
· Talk to God about what you are discovering about your life, activities, and habits of work. Creatively consider ways you might disengage through the week in order to experience God’s gift of rest.