Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26; Matthew 9:35–10:1, 5a, 6-8
By David Leiberg
Advent -- "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Waiting. And "Blessed are all who wait for the Lord." Today's readings tell us that we are blessed in this blessed season. So why do I slide off into feeling rushed and pressed and lonely and frantic?
All the advertisements and mailings and invitations and recipes and decorations can say "Hurry! Go and do! Spend and spend more!" and worse, "You haven't done enough," and worst, "Unless you get this and that, unless you go further and do more, you won't be right. You won't be loved." What terrible messages from the well-meant trappings of a blessed season!
Isaiah 29:17-24; Matthew 9:27-31
Healing of the man born blind, Germany, c. 980-993
“Do you believe that I can do this?” Matthew 9
This is the central question of our Christian lives. To be a follower of Jesus, to accept what he offers us, and to accept our mission to make a difference by loving and announcing the Gospel, all take faith in him. This kind of faith is personal, not intellectual. I can know all about faith, all about who Jesus is, and pass every exam on it all, and still not be his follower. Personal faith means I believe in him. I believe he is who he says he is. I believe what he promises. I believe he has power over sin and death - over my sin and death - even over my blindness.
Isaiah 26:1-6; Matthew 7:21, 24-27
In the scriptures today we hear about floods and winds, rock and sand, destruction and security. Neither reading, however, is a sacred version of “This Old House,” for in both, God uses the images of building and buildings, homes and cities, to make a spiritual point. Our foundation must be firmly set on the Lord. This must not only be an idea, however, it must be a lived reality. Jesus reminds us that the proclamation of rootedness is not sufficient (although I do recall praying “Lord, Lord” as we crossed that angry river) but that we must DO the word of God. That is our true foundation. So too in Isaiah, it is not enough to have a strong city with mighty walls and ramparts but the city must contain a just and faithful nation. Jesus reminds us that houses built on sand crumble and Isaiah ups the ante by pointing out that even lofty cities can be tumbled.