In Psalm 146 the psalmist sees history—personal, societal, and cosmic—held in God’s faithful care. Intervening causes and human agency shrink before God who “reigns forever.” We are counseled: Do not trust “in mortals in whom there is no help.” It is God who meets us in our need when we...
Read aloud “The Great Thanksgiving” in your church’s hymnal or worship book. Note how it narrates what God has done, is doing, and will do to care for and save us and all creation. Note what you feel. Then reread and rest in Psalm 146:5-10.
Isaiah anticipates a future time of total restoration. The desert will bloom, the blind will see, the lame will walk, and the people will return to Jerusalem with joy. Since ancient times, some have understood this as a description of the age of the Messiah. Luke records the song of Mary. After Elizabeth blesses her and her unborn child, Mary praises God for God’s strength, mercy, and generosity. In the epistle, James encourages his audience to be patient as they await the second coming of the Lord. In the same way, we wait for the birth of the Messiah during Advent. An uncertain John the Baptist sends a message to Jesus to ask if he is the promised Messiah. Jesus responds by affirming that he fulfills the messianic expectations in the prophets.
Read Isaiah 35:1-10. When has scripture strengthened you through personal or societal crises?
Read Luke 1:47-55. Those with power interpret scripture differently than those who are oppressed. How can you make room for perspectives other than your own as you interpret scripture?
Read James 5:7-10. When have you had to endure frustration with patience? How have you been strengthened by these experiences?
Read Matthew 11:2-11. What does it mean to you to be greater than John the Baptist?
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