A Time of Peace and Favor — Peace of Advent

Scripture Focus: Revelation 14.6-7
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Acts 17.30-31
30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

2 Corinthians 6.1-2
1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,

“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.” (Isaiah 49.8)

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Reflection: A Time of Peace and Favor — Peace of Advent
By John Tillman

Advent, arguably, is more about Christ’s second advent than his first. His first advent is used by the church to teach us how to anticipate his second. We look back to look forward. He came in meekness but one day will come in power. He lay in a manger but one day he will sit on a throne. He rode in on a donkey, with open hands, but one day he will ride on a horse, wielding a sword. Just as he was unexpected at his first advent, he will be unexpected at his second.

The angel in Revelation flies across the sky with “the eternal gospel.” The hour of judgment is coming but the hour of proclamation precedes the hour of judgment. The hour of salvation precedes the hour of damnation. The hour of invitation precedes the hour of separation.

This is the time in which we live. We are, in a sense, in midair, hanging between Heaven and Earth, poised between proclamation and judgment. 

Christ’s eternal gospel has a time and that time is always and ever now. His gospel is ever-reaching, ever-welcoming, ever-wooing. Now is the time for us to proclaim. Let us proclaim it faithfully.

Now is the Time
Now is the time of favor.
Now is the time of grace.
Now is the time God in Heaven has a baby’s face.

Now is the time of birthing. 
Now is the time of life.
Now is the time when death foresees perishing in strife.

Now the manger holds him
Now the child sleeps
The cross will one day hold him. There he will make peace.

Now is the time of calling. 
Now is the time. Shalom!
Now is the time prodigals find feasts and love at home.

Now is the time of mercy.
Now is the time. Repent.
Now ruffians and scoundrels are forgiven and sent.

Now is the time to witness. 
Now is the time to woo.
Now is the time to expose idols that make us fools.

Now is the time of appeal.
Now is the gospel spread.
Now we must bear witness. Telling what he said.

Now won’t last forever.
Now is just today.
Now is opportunity to choose the narrow way.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
You are the Lord, most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. — Psalm 97.9

Today’s Readings
Nehemiah 5 (Listen 3:29
Revelation 14 (Listen 3:51)

This Weekend’s Readings
Nehemiah 6 (Listen 3:19Revelation 15 (Listen 1:29)
Nehemiah 7 (Listen 6:37Revelation 16 (Listen 3:17)

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“What Child is This?” speaks to the unexpected form of our Savior. Good Christians, fear, for sinners here / the silent Word is pleading. His labor of love never ceases.

Be Yoked to Christ, Not Politics

Scripture Focus: 2 Corinthians 6.14-16
What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

Reflection: Be Yoked to Christ, Not Politics
By John Tillman

As American culture becomes less Christian, both of our political parties have become less Christian. It is increasingly difficult to defend being yoked to either the Republican or Democratic party while also being yoked with Christ. What fellowship can light have with darkness? 

Christians don’t have to bemoan feeling politically exiled and homeless. Caesar’s representatives say to us, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Christians must recognize that this is a deception and our kingdom is from another place. 

Voting in elections is only one form of political expression. As Christians, an important element of our political expression is how we care for the “polis,” the people. We vote with Christ’s hands and feet as we serve and care for image-bearers of God. What does this look like?

It would be a strikingly Christ-like thing if the powerful, no matter their political affiliation, came to know Christians as people who always seem to be standing in their way, defending the powerless. 

When governments try to starve people out, Christians move in to feed them. 
When “health care” experts champion abortion as a “solution” to having disabled children, Christians seek to adopt and care for these children. 
When governments put children in cages and separate them from their parents, Christians work to reunite them and to provide for their needs.
When disasters strike, natural or otherwise, Christians are the first ones in to help and the last to leave.
When others respond with fear and hatred towards immigrants and strangers, Christians welcome and serve them.

These actions (which are real and occurring today) are true acts of worship and enact the gospel in front of a watching world. 

Christians who care about the whole Bible must care about the whole of humanity. Every image-bearer of God, not just the white ones and not just the brown ones, and not just the unborn ones, and not just the immigrant ones should find in Christ’s church a compassionate helper. If we neglect or threaten one of these groups, then we are neglecting and abandoning part of the Bible’s teaching.

May no party or human leader be permitted to yoke us or Christ’s church to their cause.
May the only yoke we take on, be the yoke of Christ, in service to others.
May politicians know us by the people we help, not by the people we hate.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Morning Psalm
Sing to God, sing praises to his Name; exalt him who rides upon the heavens; Yahweh is his Name, rejoice before him!
Father of orphans, defender of widows, God in his holy habitation! — Psalm 68.4-5

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Samuel 13 (Listen – 6:39)
2 Corinthians 6 (Listen – 2:31)

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