LIVING WITHIN THE NEW CREATION
Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 126; I Thessalonians 5:12-28; John 1:6-8 & 19-28
THIRD SUNDAY of ADVENT
December 12, 1999
I am what they call a "visual learner". I see a chart or a map and I can remember the patterns and information fairly easily. Consequently, I always enjoyed the Old Testament time lines ... the charts that hang in many Sunday School rooms which begin with creation on the left end and go through the Garden of Eden, and Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and David, the exile, and the various prophets. It then ends with Jesus on the right edge.
The basic flow is fascinating. In fact, the basic flow of the Old Testament ... the history of God's people ... is quite simple. It can be described in just a few words: God created and made wonderful promises ... humans messed up ... God got angry - frustrated - disappointed ... God relented (people repent, God relents) and made a new creation with wonderful promises ... humans messed up ... God got angry ... God relented and made a new creation with wonderful promises ... humans --- ... you get the picture. The pattern repeats over and over and over .. in the words of our Prayer Book, "again and again God called us to return".
Despite that .. despite the fact that even more dependable than taxes is that human beings will fail God ... God continues to relent. God continues to give us gifts. God continues to keep the wonderful promises even though we don't keep our half of the covenant -- the bargain. And God is disappointed in us.
Throughout the Hebrew scriptures we find discussions about this pattern. About the promises made to the people and the failures of the people. That is an important perspective. One we find difficult to understand in our individualistic society. The promises to, and reactions of --- the people .. all the people. The community, actually communities we belong to.
BUT ... despite the importance of that perspective, let ...
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