Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent, Week One: It Begins!

Week One: The Patriarchs’ Candle
God's extraordinary promises to imperfect people

Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-22; Isaiah 11:1-5

We light one of the purple candles as the scriptures are read.

“Knowing the stories of our faith, and how they connect with our own life experiences, means that we can celebrate the faithfulness and grace-bestowing love of God that was given to Abraham and Sarah, to the Israelites in the wilderness, and to the disciples. We can celebrate what is given to us as we join others in claiming God’s promise and rejoicing in God’s love as we gather at the Lord’s table. We can celebrate what will be given to us and to all creation in times yet to come because God is faithful and God keeps God’s promises.

“We know who we are –children of God loved and forgiven and called by God! And we know Whose we are – children of God who are called to be witnesses to God’s love and care for all the world. We are therefore able to share in the festivity that grows out of our shared stories and visions. Our identity as God’s beloved sons and daughters causes us to seek ways to celebrate and repeatedly affirm that we are who we are!” –Linda J. Vogel, Rituals for Resurrection

Each of the Old Testament patriarchs mentioned here –Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, together with their wives and families– endured significant (and soemtimes self-inflicted) difficulties during their journeys of faith with God.

Who do you think had the most difficulty trusting God, and why? How did they learn that God was faithful, and could in fact be trusted?

How are the stories of our faith connected, all the way from Abraham to the Israelites to the early Christians and to us? What does this say about celebrate God’s faithfulness in the past, present, and future?