Advent Meditation: December 3, 2022

20, 21:1-7(8-14), 110:1-5(6-7), 116, 117
Isaiah 4:2-6 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Luke 21:5-19

In the Texas sky, dramatic scenes of cloud formations lit by a setting sun can cover half the sky, glowing in purples and grays and pinks. When I was a child, my mother would point to these scenes and say, “Look, there’s God.” I never understood her to mean the cartoon God with a beard floating around in a cloud, but rather that God’s beautiful and mighty signature in the sky is a mark of divine presence.

Isaiah and 1 Thessalonians speak of a promise of God’s presence being made known in the sky. This is no sweet sentimentality, but follows grievous loss. In Isaiah, the hope of God’s renewed presence is a hardy one, made credible by the devastation God’s people have experienced; it is a hope that has been tried and has prevailed. God’s renewal is overwhelming in its protective power.

The sky can be an icon that reminds us of God – vast, ever present, encompassing, sometimes demanding our attention and sometimes easy to forget. But the God who makes God’s presence known in the sky gives us hope to live on the ground. Paul and Isaiah both write of this substantive hope not simply to soothe the people of God, but to give a hope that is activating, that allows us to do God’s work today, participating in the holy justice-bringing that is our call.

Holy God, give us the grace to see you, the hope that your mighty presence brings and the fortitude to continue in your work.

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