As part of our discussions on advent, we thought it would be meaningful to put together some devotions to help guide us through this time. The Bruderhof communities have several available online. As this is the first week of Advent, maybe this one, The Meaning of Advent might be appropriate.
Clinton and I have also worked on one that ties together the theme of Awakening with this week's scripture passages for the Jesse tree ornaments....
This week we focus on our need for awakening- to sin, heartache, injustice, suffering. This awakening can allow us to experience more fully the yearning for the coming of a Messiah. This week we can also pray that we can be awakened to Hope- in God's story, His promises, and the coming of His Son.
The creation story provides a picture of a state of shalom. It awakens us to the possibility of "how things could be". And, not only how they could be, but how God created them to be. God has created us to be in community with Him, without sin and shame.
This is followed by the Fall, the ultimate awakening to sin and shame. They hide as God seeks. Through disobedience, Adam and Eve destroyed the communion with God. They were exiled from the garden.
The creation continues to decay until we come to the time of Noah. Here the world is awakened to God's judgement. The world is also awakened to God's mercy and his continued desire to live in peace with his creation as he makes a covenant with Noah.
God then chooses Abraham for the salvation story, calling Abram to a drastic change. Abraham is awakened to the cost of following the will of God. He is asked to leave his home and family, everything he has known, to obey God in faith. Even when this obedience would cost him his beloved son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Through this obedience, God awakens them to a way of redemption, offering a ram in substitute.
Isaac's son Jacob is also forced to leave home and family to save his own life. On this journey as he sleeps alone in the wilderness, he is literally awakened to find God's presence there. The heavens are bridged to earth in a most unexpected place.
Finally, this week we have Jacob's son, Joseph, who is awakened to the injustice of betrayal, slavery, slander, and imprisonment. He remains faithful to God throughout these trials and is then part of awakening others to the dreams and image of God.
Perhaps these stories may help us to see the ways that God may be trying to awaken us. Let us pray that we may be faithful and obedient, trusting in God's mercy and grace, as we yearn for the coming of the Messiah this advent season.