Lectionary Year B
December 1, 2002
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Hermeneutical Bridge


Two possible bridges:

1) With the "new millenium" (how do we know God goes by the Gregorian calendar?!) almost upon us, predictions of doom and gloom or glory will surely step up in tempo.The first Sunday in Advent's lectionary readings point to our coming hope when the skies are rent and Christ returns. Many people will be especially nervous and/or excited this year. Israel was stripped of everything, and people of faith cried out to Yahweh to intervene, to shine forth again and restore Israel. THEIR idea of how that restoration might look and the images many of US may see in Psalm 80 are probably very, very different! But as the Light did shine forth and was not overcome by the darkness, so in the darkness of news from East Timor, the uncertainty of what "Y2K" will bring to our computerized supports, (etc., etc.) we look in faith for that Light to shine once again. What will it look like? We don't know. Through the scriptural images of a peaceable kingdom (Isaiah 11), the final denoument of Revelation, etc., we can get the idea of a hopeful future, whatever form that may take.

2) Imagine a prayer like this being printed in the bulletin, for all a church to read together! No confession, no sense of humility, but a cry of pain, and a cry for God to step down and intervene and "shine forth"! This is the season after Columbine and Ft. Worth, of fear and tears. The First Sunday of Advent readings are a cry for God to rend the skies and step into history (Isaiah), an admonition to be constantly on watch even in the midst of turmoil (Mark). This is a prayer from a nation's broken heart and confusion-- perhaps angry confusion? They still dared to pray. The answer we see to the prayer is nothing like what they must have expected, yet it come. We can't imagine the answer to our own prayers now...

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