Texts: Isaiah 64: 4 – 9, 1Corinthians 1:1-9 and Mark 13:(24-32) 33-37
Hope! For we are all the Work of God’s Hand
Advent is a season of hope and anticipation of the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. At this time we remember how much God loves us that he gifted us with his Son. A perfect gift for an imperfect world which is in great need of reconciliation and healing.
With this knowledge, the advent season offers us both the opportunity to celebrate and to reflect on how we stand before Jesus as we anticipate his Second Coming.
In Isaiah we are reminded of how the people in ancient times longed for the coming of the Saviour that God had promised, a saviour who would come to help those who were faithful (Isaiah 64:5), but we are reminded as the chapter goes on that as sinners our good works are insufficient to make us worthy of God’s help. Isaiah 64:5-6 says “How then can we be saved? …all our righteous acts are like filthy rags, we all shirivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
We are human. We are not perfect but the wonder of Jesus is that whether rich or poor, sick or healthy we all come to Jesus as sinners – as equals – and yet through his grace we are forgiven.
In advent we have hope in you, Lord.
This is summed up beautifully in the words of Paul as he wrote to the Corinthians, a city that was ridiculed in ancient times for the shameless and immoral behaviour of its people. Paul said “I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way” (1 Cor 1:4-5).
There are many parallels between the Corinth of old and the World of today. Poor examples are set for us by our political leaders and sporting heros, gender based violence is a norm in many relationships and poverty continues to fuel unhealthy sexual health choices for young girls and boys, women and men in many parts of our country and the world.
Similarly, 2014 has been such a difficult year, with unspeakable bloodshed and misery as nation turned against nation in too many countries to mention, that it has prompted many to wonder if the end times are imminent.
Writing about these end times, Mark’s gospel tells us that “No one knows the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” We are reminded that we must “Be on guard! Be alert! “ (Mark 13:32-33).
Be this day near or far in the future, as Christians we anticipate the day when Jesus comes again with hope and expectation. As Christians we have nothing to fear because we know God’s grace.
So let us challenge ourselves in these difficult times and urge each other to promote peace by sharing that all life has value, that brokenness can be mended and that hope is not lost. In God there is hope and life eternal.
As we celebrate this first Sunday of Advent we also celebrate World AIDS Day and how we are beginning to curb new HIV infections. I challenge you to reach out, learn more about this disease and love yourself enough to know your status. Together we can bring change. We are children of a living God, we are the work of his hand and in him all things are possible. Happy Christmas.
“We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
To think about: God knows your HIV status. Do you? Love yourself enough to test so that you can take care of your health.
Written By: Mrs Deborah Heustice, Director: info4africa, School of Applied Human Sciences, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal