Advent 2 - The Prophets
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 4 December 2022
Today, the second Sunday in Advent, we light two candles on the Advent ring to remind us of the prophets. Some think of the prophets as rather gloomy souls who went around condemning people and predicting misery. However, this is not the whole of the picture.
The role of God’s prophets was to speak God’s word. Sometimes it was a word of judgment warning people to change their ways or face disaster and sometimes it was a word of hope encouraging the despairing to trust in God, to stand firm in their faith and to look forward to a brighter future. Our reading this morning from Isaiah 40 falls in this latter category.
The prophet is addressing the Jewish exiles in Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586BC. Here, through the prophet, God speaks words of comfort to his people. Their time of trial is over, the Lord is coming in power, the glory of the Lord will be revealed and God will tend his flock and gather his lambs in his arms.
The prophet invites the people to open their eyes and to “see” what is going on. To see what God is doing all around us, we don’t, as we might sometimes feel, need more faith but more observation. This is one of Jesus’ recurring complaints to his disciples, “Have you not seen?” If we do not immediately see God at work in the chaos all around us, our response should be to keep looking, to keep trusting and to wait.
Isaiah’s prophecy came true – the people of God did leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem. They were comforted and they did sing the Lord’s song again in their own land.
God is also at work in our communities today. As God’s people, let us resist the fear and anxiety produced by media propaganda and proclaim our hope in the God who tends his flock like a shepherd, gathers the lambs in his arms and carries all people close to his heart.
Hymn: The Lord’s my shepherd
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We thank you for your love and care.
When we are tempted to despair
Remind us that our message is one of comfort, love and hope.
May we know the power of Your might,
May we see Your glory revealed
May we feel Your gentle leading
And may we know that You hold us close to Your heart.
For we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen