4th day of Advent
December 6th, 2017
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are little among
the thousands of Judah,
yet out of you shall come forth to Me
the One to be Ruler in Israel,
whose goings forth are from of old,
If you are reading Scripture through Advent guided by the Revised Common Lectionary you will encounter another day of readings that points to a growing chaos as time hurries toward its end. You will hear how our idolatry of self and wealth fragments creation; how lust, greed and hate will continue to drive the world toward the dust it must become.
Yet we also hear how in the fullness of time God will draw to Himself all those who even in the chaos continue to Love as He loves and continue to share the good news even as this world crumbles.
In all of this there is a reminder. In Scripture and in our lives we are confronted by a truth: God's ways are not our ways; God's wisdom is so often contrary to what we call common sense. How does stepping from heaven to earth, inhabiting a virgin's womb putting her at risk of death because of an apparent breach of God's own laws, being born in a stable, in a nothing town in the back of beyond, having to flee for His life and then dying a rebel, an outlaw and a traitor on a Roman cross make any sense? It makes no more sense than planting a tree in a garden and then denying access to its fruit. Yet there is an empty tomb and there is a promise that everything will be put right.
It makes no sense. Yet from the dust of time God will gather His people to Himself, around the very One born of a virgin in a stable in Bethlehem Ephrathah, a nothing town in the back of beyond. It's wonderful almost because it offends our notions of common sense.
So we look around and we can't imagine how this works out fairly and for good. Yet God does and we trust He will. That is how we live in hope.