Have you ever lived with great expectations? Do you see the way things are and, in contrast, sometimes envision the way things could be? Do you wish they could improve or be changed? If you have, you know frustration.
Being optimistic can be hard work. Getting our hopes up, we sometimes learn in life, is risky business. The risk is that we will be disappointed. Nobody likes to be disappointed. What happens as a result, more often than not, is that we are slowly conditioned to modify our expectations. We lower the bar . . . or remove it all together. When so little is expected, there is much less room for disappointment. It's easier all around. We learn this attitude. Sometimes, I suspect, we even foster it. What do you think?
One of the themes of the season of Advent is that of hope. Paul reminds us that hope does not disappoint us! Here it is in context:
[W]e also boast our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. that has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
The readings for this Sunday get at some pretty exciting and wonderful notions of what God has in mind. Take some time to read these passages listed and sited below. Here are some questions for consideration:
- Do you think the vision is unrealistic?
- Do you think the expectations are too high?
- Where do those promises play out in our lives?
- How are we called to join in this process of transformation?
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool
and the thirsty ground springs of water. (Isaiah 35:5-7)
John the Baptist in Prison Receives Christ's Answer
Samuel van Hoogstrateten (1627-1678)
Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. (Matthew 11:4-5)
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Third Sunday of Advent
December 15, 2013
Prayer of the Day
Stir up the wills of all who look to you, Lord God,
and strengthen our faith in your coming,
that transformed by grace, we may walk in your way;
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen
Don't forget to invite someone to come along to worship this Sunday morning. Your participation in extending God's welcome could make all the difference in someone's life . . . including your own.