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Laity Reflection: A Happy New Year! Blessed time of HOPE!

December 6, 2018
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As we were reminded last Sunday, with the coming of Advent is also the coming of the new Christian year. With it brings Hope for the things to come and a reminder of the promises God so clearly brought to his people before Jesus’ time, in Jesus lifetime and to all of us today. Our focus scripture today is Jeremiah 33:14-16. If you will remember, Jeremiah was a prophet from the 6th century BC. God called him as a youth to stand up against the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with God’s warning of retribution to come because of their disobedient ways. My Bible describes Jeremiah this way: “Jeremiah the proclaimer of God’s word is a man of enormous courage . . . Jeremiah the servant of God is a man of great integrity, who calls the people of God to integrity so that they might not lose their true identity as God’s children.”1 Here’s what Jeremiah says in chapter 33: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’”2 Jeremiah wrote these words from prison, while his countrymen were besieged by the Babylonians. Fear was all around him and everything looked very bad. But he reminded the people in Judah and Jerusalem of the promises God had made, that their enemies would one day be defeated and he would send a descendent of David to restore peace. How are we like the people of Jeremiah’s day? We are also besieged by disobedience and difficulties all around. We don’t fear the Babylonians, but we pray that God will fix problems that come to mind: hunger, illness, loss of job or death of a loved-one, and natural disasters of fires and storms. Still today we are awaiting with Hope the promised one, the descendent of David called Christ the Lord. Jesus is that promised savior, who came to live among us. Advent is our time of remembering and waiting upon God’s promises for a time when those problems will cease and peace will come. Listen to these words from the Charles Wesley hymn, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” verse 1: Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.3 Pastor Gideon Gallo reminded us last Sunday, that we are a people shaped by the future. Advent is the first season of the church year which is a time of waiting. We not only wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas, but also His coming again. Because we live on the other side of Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection, we shape our HOPE on the promise of the future; Christ will come again. As we light the first Advent candle, the candle of HOPE, we acknowledge the promise God made through his Son, Jesus. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”2b Even as in Jeremiah’s day we face the storms and difficulties of this life, we have the promise of a life when we are at peace and with our LORD. That is our HOPE. May this season of Advent help you focus on God’s promise! Rev Gideon Gallo is pastor of the Gladbrook United Methodist Church 1The Spiritual Formation Bible, NRSV, 1989, Zondervan Publishing House, p.986 2The ESV Study Bible, ESV, 2008, Crossway, p1435 & 2494 3The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989, p.196 (Charles Wesley 1744 & Rowland H. Prichard, 1830)

In the grace, Spirit and love of Christ, Carolyn Moe



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