Wednesday Words

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

Advent is a season of waiting, but is idle waiting what God wants of us? In preparation for the coming Messiah, we wonder together—what things can’t wait? What demands our immediate attention? What requires our work and preparation? What is it that God can’t wait for? Is it our praise, reconciliation, and proclamation? Is it the end of suffering, isolation, and fear? This Advent, we invite you to join us in imagining, prioritizing, and preparing. As we wait, what can’t?

There are many ways in which you can engage at Bethany as we thoughtfully and prayerfully center ourselves in God’s hope, peace, joy and love.

Worshipping together brings us together to lean on each other, center ourselves in Christ, and find strength and courage to face the challenges of our lives and the world. We hope that you will worship with us this Advent on Sundays at 8, 9, & 10:45 am. We also have midweek services on Wednesday, Dec. 4 &11 at 7 pm. In addition, on Wednesday, Dec. 18 we have a Longest Night service for those who find the holidays difficult.

We have daily devotionals that call to our attention ways God can’t wait to create hope, peace, joy, and love. We invite you to carve out time each day to listen to God speaking to you through art, poetry, silent reflection, and prayer. Devotionals are printed and ready to take home at the entrance of our worship space.

Lastly, we have a Sunday Bible Study for you each week to think about the text that will be used on Sunday mornings.

We hope that this Advent you will take time to breathe and center yourself in God’s hope, peace, joy, and love. Our prayer for you is that through worshiping together and daily devotionals that you find the gift of rest and renewal.

First Week of Advent  GOD’S PROMISED DAY (hope) CAN’T WAIT

KEY SCRIPTURES FOR THIS SUNDAY, DEC. 1 - Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 12

These texts speak of God’s promised day—a day when wars end, swords are beaten into plowshares, and spears become pruning hooks. On the first Sunday in Advent, we focus on the need to hold onto hope, to continue dreaming of and reaching for God’s promised day where there will be peace and all will know love. How does unrelenting hope change us? How does it change our world?

GUIDING QUESTIONS

• Read Isaiah 1:21-31; 2:5-22. How do these oracles of judgment inform your reading of Isaiah’s

vision of promise in Isaiah 2:1-5? What is the relationship between hope and despair—in these

passages and in our own lives?

• Walter Brueggemann says of this passage from Isaiah, “That is, it is a vision, an act of imagination that looks beyond present dismay through the eyes of God, to see what will be that is not yet. That is the function of promise (and therefore of Advent) in the life of faith. Under promise, in Advent, faith sees what will be that is not yet.” At this moment in time, what present dismay is blurring your vision? How is the Church looking beyond dismay to live into the “not yet”?

• Isaiah envisions a world where warring nations convert their weapons into tools for flourishing. How might we live into this vision today? What are concrete examples of beating swords into plowshares?

• How do we receive the words of Psalm 122 in light of current events such as: the burning down of the Notre Dame cathedral, or the Christchurch, NZ, mosque shootings? How might this psalm become a prayer for hope in places where peace is missing?