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A message for the week starting on Sunday 27 November 2022

Lectionary Week: Advent 1
Prescribed Texts: Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44

Focus Text: Isaiah 2:1-5

How Should We Then Live?

The readings set for today, this fourth Sunday in November, are centered around the whole idea of Jesus’ coming again. He arose for the first time over 2000 years ago and His Word tells us that He will come again . . . we find ourselves living in the period BETWEEN; in a ‘now and not yet time’. This begs the question: How should we then live?

Matthew 24:36 starts us off with a bold statement as to the timing of Jesus’ return:

“. . . concerning that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” This said, Matthew continues the theme of the ‘suddenness’ of this day when Jesus will return – “Two will be in a field and one will be taken (to be with Christ); two will be grinding at the mill and one will be taken . . .”

On an easier note, Isaiah, writing centuries before, gives us some idea of how it will be when Jesus comes again, when he states:

“He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their ploughs into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

I also love the image of Jerusalem which in this context, I believe, could be a synonym for God Himself and given here by the Psalmist of 122: “May they be secure who love you! And may there be peace within your walls and security within your towers.” In the context of living with a chronic illness such as HIV, how much do we need to love God and because of this, to know His peace within our walls and His security within our towers?

But to return to my question: How should we then live? Matthew calls us to be ready, for the Son of Humankind is coming at an hour you do not expect. Isaiah bids us “walk in the light of the LORD.”

Paul, in writing to the Romans, expands on the idea of light, when he writes: “Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime.”

May we, each in our own spaces of darkness, ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help us to love Him with all our hearts and to help us to walk in His light. I believe that in so doing, we can know His peace within our walls and His security within our towers.

To think about: How should we then live?

Written by: Rev. Jessica McCarter, trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator and Assistant Priest at St James Anglican Church, Ladybrand, Diocese of the Free State