Thursday, December 10, 2015

Second Thursday of Advent: Threshing with Worms

“Fear not, O worm Jacob, O maggot Israel; I will help you, says the LORD; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and double-edged, to thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff.” Is. 41:14-15

I love Advent. It is most certainly my favorite of all the liturgical seasons. It really has everything you need in a season: calls for repentance, offering up thanksgiving, reminders of the impending end of things, reminders of the coming of new things, and all the Isaiah that anyone could ever want. Probably just as much as I love Advent, I love Isaiah.

Imagine you see that crazy looking guy on the street corner holding his sign,  he is calmly explaining to people that God has told him the end of their world is near. Now, imagine the sign he is holding is calling for repentance, not for your own salvation because you’re screwed, but for a salvation hoped for, and promised, through God’s Grace. After Jerusalem is conquered and much of the upper-class is carried off to Babylon, we have Second Isaiah (above) telling the Jews that God sees them as worms and maggots (sometimes God doesn’t work with honey). But, he finishes with the image of God using them as a thresh (harvesting tool) to cut down the mountains and blow away the hills like dust in the wind. Now, it’s not that God is using soggy worms to beat down these mighty things, but that God is going to transform His nation into something great, something worth notice!

As we continue on in our Advent season, let us remember that we find our world in a state of flux. Much like Jerusalem, we have set ourselves on a tenuous path to destruction. We have long walked a path damaging to our environment, and we, like the Hebrews, are in serious trouble. We need to repent.

In this season of renewal, what are ways that we can ease the stress that we put on our environment? Ultimately, we may be witness to the destruction of our way of life, yet we are not beyond salvation. Like Isaiah’s Jews, our destruction does not mean that we cannot set up a better world for those who follow.

This Advent season, how do we allow ourselves to be transformed?
How can we be an example to encourage others to do the same?

Matthew Keppel

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