Sunday, December 7, 2008

Second Sunday in Advent - Year B

Mid-12th Century Italian image of the baptism of Christ
This week's Lectionary readings are:
All these readings talk of better things to come. My life is pretty darn good, but of course, things could always be better. More importantly, a lot of people are really struggling right now, so it's nice to think about better things to come.

In the last month, the book of Isaiah has really spoken to me. This may be because I've been reading it in small doses - the last 2 lectionary readings and in the little daily devotional someone sends me. But it's making me want to make an effort to read more. I feel like I can really hear the poetry and feel the devotion of Isaiah.

I am particularly struck by 2 Peter 3:10, [T]he day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. There is so much in popular culture about knowing that the end time (or second coming) is near by the signs (including efforts to force those signs to occur!) Yet this statement directly contradicts that - we won't know when the Lord is coming, he will sneak in. I think this is more likely to be true than the opposite. I also think the information on how we should live now is worth noting and particularly useful in the World English translation:

[In] holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, ..., be diligent to be found in peace, without blemish and blameless in his sight. (2 Peter 11-14)

I particularly like the line "diligent to be found in peace", and back to my earlier theme, I find that this conflicts with the dispensationalist idea that peace in the Middle East works against the coming of the lord (Good overview of Christian Zionism and it's political implications.)

The Mark reading talks about John the Baptist's ministry of baptism. I particularly liked the image at the top of this post as a piece of art. But I think the image below - from the very interesting JESUS MAFA project - is probably more realistic.

Modern African/French image of John baptizing Jesus

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