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Theme: Advent 1 – HOPE!

Rev. Tim Rist

Readings:

Isaiah 2:1-5 (NRSV) The Future House of God 1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 3 Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Matthew 24:36-44 (NRSV) The Necessity for Watchfulness 36 “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Questions for reflection:

1. Are we living in the last days? If so, – how does this knowledge affect your celebration of Advent?

2. Is this something you don’t really think about? Maybe it will happen soon, maybe it won’t?

If this is your opinion, you are like Matthews’  congregation – how will this Advent season help and encourage you to stay alert despite the delay in Jesus’ return?

3. Perhaps you feel that Matthew’s language and imagery is from a different time in history and that it has nothing to do with you. Maybe you do not anticipate a future event that will instantly transform [rapture] the world. Instead, you believe God is constantly present, working in the world and moving it towards the time when His Kingdom will rule? If so, – how does this Advent season encourage you to work “now” to bring about Kingdom realities in the world?

Each of these approaches have advantages and disadvantages to them.

Think about your point of view and while doing so remember that Jesus in all options calls the disciples, and empowers them, to witness faithfully to God’s ultimate plan and purposes of love, peace, joy, justice, forgiveness, and fullness of life.1

Fellowship Group Notes: 27 November 2016 Bible Readings from https://www.biblegateway.com/

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