Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Promise Fulfilled

The days are surely coming, says 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 live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness." Jeremiah 33:14-16

Advent is upon us... I know I'm not the only one who knows this. For the first time in three years I do not have a single congregation I am serving this Advent season. I have had the luxury of looking at the season as a whole, planning a series of sermons to take us into the great feast of the Incarnation. But this year I am preaching just twice, once at a small urban Metropolitan Community Church and once at a small rural Presbyterian Church.

This Sunday I am confronted, as all lectionary preachers are, with readings that have as their focus the end times. (That is interpretive, of course. It is not clear to me at all that Jeremiah is here referring to an apocalyptic event. Rather, he seems to be presenting an era of earthly justice and covenant enacted.)

It is interesting that we return to the beginning of the church year and the Christ event by looking to an ending that none of us have seen. It knocks me, for one, off my pins... I know there are preachers and congregations who love this theme, who celebrate it joyfully.

I am not among them. I want us to save the planet, not surrender it to oblivion in the name of a single interpretation of scripture that is less than 200 years old.

Listening to: the new Sufjan Stevens Christmas Album. What is it about this young man that so pierces my armor? And where did an indie rocker who writes songs called "Incarnation" come from, anyway?

Maybe the end is near.


steve westby said...

Hey Mags! I have the Sufjan Stevens Christmas album as well. Isn't he amazing? Have you also listened to his album 'Illinoise'?

Magdalene6127 said...

Now you've got me laughing Steve. I am at this very moment in the middle of writing a sermon on the Luke 21:25-36 text for this Sunday, and I am using "Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland Illinois." It just feels suitably apocalyptic to me; besides, it reminds me of waiting... specifically, the time we were watching my mom die.

When the revenant came down
We couldn't imagine what it was
In the spirit of three stars
The alien thing that took its form
Then to Lebanon
Oh, God
The flashing at night, the sirens grow and grow
Oh, history involved itself
Mysterious shade that took its form
Or what it was, incarnation
Three stars
Delivering signs and dusting from their eyes

He is really amazing. I am so glad I've found his music. He's an Episcopalian, evidently. So deeply spiritual, and religious in a serious way that lives with the ambiguities; my kind of Christian rocker!


steve westby said...

Hello again, Mags! Glad I could make you laugh. Hey, I know you're busy, but if you get a minute, I'd love to get any of your thoughts on my last blog entry or two.

Hope you're having a great day!