A Doomy, Gloomy Advent

A Homily for the Third Wednesday of Advent

Text: Isaiah 9:8-11


Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who makes speed to save us. Amen.

It’s doom and gloom for the northern kingdom.

A quick crash course in Israelite history: the twelve tribes united under King Saul, and then there was a bit of a civil war as Saul and David fought for the throne. David became king over Judah and then over all Israel, and he was followed by his son Solomon. The united kingdom was short-lived, though, as the ten tribes in the north broke away and kingdom split between north (Israel) and south (Judah). The northern kingdom was a lot less stable than their southern neighbors: Israel had as many kings in two centuries as Judah had in three and a half. And now, tonight, it’s on the verge of collapse.

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A Holy Seed Among the Rubble

A Homily for the Second Week of Advent

Text: Isaiah 6


Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, the seed which brings forth new life in the desolation. Amen.

Prophets have a hard job. Think about it: Moses is sent back home to tell the Egyptian royal court – people he likely knew growing up – that the Lord was about to send plagues against them. Samuel’s first task was to tell Eli, his mentor and guardian, that the Almighty had turned his back on him and his sons. Elijah and Elisha both flee for their lives. And so it goes: Isaiah, serving in the temple, is confronted with an overwhelmingly awful (that is, awe-filled) vision of the heavenly throne.

And his first reaction? “Woe is me!” He is keenly aware that he and the entire people of Judah are unworthy and that he was gazing upon the very definition of Goodness, Power, and Might.

And then it got worse. Because then the angels said,

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Hope in the Chaos

A Homily for the first Wednesday of Advent

Text: Isaiah 2:1-4


Grace and to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, the coming King. Amen.

Tonight, in the early days of Advent, we also find ourselves in the early chapters of Isaiah. And like this season of anticipation, the prophet begins not in the past or the present but at some blessed time in the future: “In days to come…”

What follows is a vision of coming tranquility when the Lord shall reign from on high. As we’ll see in coming weeks, though, not every verse in Isaiah is quite so optimistic.

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