Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church


Clergy Corner

Behold Your God

  • The Rev. Bob Dannals
  • Nov 29, 2017
  • Category: General
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Every year the biblical texts assigned for Advent Season remind us to take note of the fact that the world can be a place where terrible, dark things can happen.

Advent begins this year acknowledging that we are pressed by current crisis: a hunger crisis in East Africa, continued violence in the Middle East, global warming, human trafficking, extreme poverty, the on-going decline of the middle class in America, and challenges for the holy innocents of our local communities.

Advent begins with a recognition that the world in general is not better this year than it was last year or the year before.

Advent begins not with bright lights and alleluia choruses, but it begins on a rather somber note.

So what is the point of concentrating on these bleak Advent themes? The Christmas decorations and lights are going up all over Atlanta; why does the church insist on beginning Advent in the dark, void of Christmas symbols and music?

Isaiah declares, “A voice says, ‘cry!’ and I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ All flesh is grass and all beauty fades away.”

One of the most arresting themes in the Bible is that even when things seem bad — like exile in a strange land — the community is to address God, to plead with God, to cry out for divine presence.

The lament of our condition carries with it a kind of hope against hope, a kind of expectation that things can get better, a kind of insistence that God do something for us, because we cannot do it on our own; we cannot save ourselves.

And God does act — decisively!

Isaiah declares, “Behold your God. Behold, the Lord God comes with might and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, and gently lead those who are young.”

“Behold your God!” That’s the message from Isaiah this Advent.

To each and all we are to bring this message to the Holy Innocents’ of our day. During this Advent season, how can you and I bring the light of Christ to someone in the dark?

Please see the array of ways to prepare ... to prepare the way of the Lord.

Bob Dannals