Sunday, Nov. 27 – Eddie Stepp

27 Nov

Week 1: Hope
Today’s Scripture:
Psalm 146
2 Peter 3:1-13

And so it begins, again. Trees and lights. Red suits and fruitcakes. Bells that jingle and bells that are silver. Bowl games and bowls of punch. Mistletoe and parties and calendars stuffed fuller than any turkey. It is time again to blow the dust off of Johnny Mathis and Amy Grant and to sing the puzzling songs about chestnuts and figgy pudding and Parson Brown. Here comes one more opportunity to laugh when Buddy the Elf assaults Santa and to get misty when George Bailey discovers Zuzu’s petals.

I like all these things. Well, not the fruitcake. And not a schedule bloated with commitments. What I really don’t like, however, is that the potential exists for all of these good things to become a distraction for me. When the distractions want to take hold, I am grateful that the season of Advent appears again as well to reorient my thinking and attention on what truly matters in these days. I am reminded in this season of preparation and anticipation of a baby-Savior-King who was God in flesh. We celebrate that he has come and we gaze with expectancy into the future as we await the promise that he will come. In between these two realities we live with hope as citizens of a Kingdom that has come but is not yet fully realized. Not yet.

Advent reminds us that we are a people of hope. In common usage, hope has come to mean “wishful thinking” – I hope the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl. Biblical hope, in contrast, means a rock-solid expectation that is rooted in the faithful character of God. It is no coincidence that when the Psalmist declares, “Blessed are they whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God” (146:5) that he proceeds to discuss the character and actions of this God in whom we can hope. The faithful God cares for the oppressed, sets the prisoners free, gives sight to the blind, and loves the righteous. Jesus announces his ministry with very similar terms in Luke 4. As a result, for those of us who have joined Jesus in his Kingdom, we have hope (concrete expectation) that everything that Jesus promised is true. He rescues us and sets us free. He gives us life abundant and eternal. He changes our hearts and shows us love. He gives us hope in the kingdom that is now.

But Jesus also gives us hope for the kingdom that is not yet. Peter reminds us not to lose hope regarding Jesus’ future coming. The Lord is not slow about keeping his promise of returning, but he waits so that more can have time to repent (2Peter 3:9). One day the Kingdom will be culminated. One day the final victory will be declared over sin and death. Until then we wait and we hope.

LORD, as we begin the season again, help us not be consumed by the distractions, but remember the hope that is ours as Kingdom people. Amen.

-ES

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One Response to “Sunday, Nov. 27 – Eddie Stepp”

  1. Annie November 28, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Thank you for reminding us about the hope we are rooted in as believers.

    Freeman 4

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