Prayer:Holy God, speak to all that keeps me from listening.  Speak to me an Advent message. I sit expectant to hear. Word of God, speak.  Amen.  

Scripture Reading: Micah 5:2-5a
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.

Yesterday, I wrote that God’s ancient people were combating cultural influences, surviving the disintegrating of their tradition while at the same time being shouted at to comply with the requirements of their faith and tradition.   For them it was a time of great instability both spiritually as well as physically. After more time on my thinking chair I became more aware of the dissonance that they faced, in much the same way that I’m aware that it is my struggle as well.  Granted for me the degree of the consequence is not nearly as severe or brutal, but the question and dilemma are almost the same. How can I be a person of faith in a culture that minimizes or disavows the essence and necessity of belief?  It’s an Advent question to ponder.  The extremes of answers have little value; we live and move and have our beings in hues of gray.  We cannot live with an abstract answer any more than we can exist without the reality of our faith. So how do I cultivate a faithful response that leads me to a deeper experience and an embodiment of grace in our culture?   For all of Micah’s ranting he offers a very simple solution to the dilemma.  He says find your way back to the promise.  His tone changes, the anger is gone, the bitterness dissipated and he asks the people of faith to listen again to what God promises.  Let those promises return in your head and heart; for when you do that, when what God has promised returns to you, then you are able to make color in the grayness and color changes the landscape.  God’s promises change us and the culture in which we live and move and have our being. In this Advent season be drawn to God’s promise of One who comes to bring you peace and to bring peace to all of creation.

Reflection Questions:
How are you cultivating a more faithful response?
What does it mean to you to “find your way back to the promise?”
After 3 days have you noticed/heard anything different in the text?

To view previous readings click HERE