12/17/07

Festival of Lessons and Carols

I had the chance to attend Muncie's Festival of Lessons and Carols along with Pete Gaffney. My mom, Beth, was one of the readers. Below is what she read and shared. I stole it, with her permission.
From Isaiah Chapter 9: "The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulders dominion rests. They name him wonder-counselor, mighty god, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

The words of Isaiah are powerful. When we read them, we feel his confidence and knowledge of God. Those words sound so direct. How can one not see that this promised messiah is fleshed out in the life of Jesus? Why cannot the whole world see it? Why cannot the Jews see it?

Many of you here know that I grew up Jewish, in an observant Jewish home. To understand the Jewish viewpoint, you must remember that the Jews were expecting the Messiah to be a powerful, good king. They were expecting a person of God's choice to rise up and deliver them from their enemies and to bring peace and righteousness into their lives. They knew they needed and they wanted leadership.

The very idea of God incarnate was never what they hoped for. Indeed, monotheism is the very halmark of Judaism.

Shema Yisrael, adonoi elohenu, adonoi echod. Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. This phrase is literally and specifically called the Watchword of our Faith and is recited as the central part of every Jewish service. Shema Yisrael, adonoi elohenu, adonoi echod. Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

God incarnate was not what the Jews were ever expecting.

Are we so very different. In our lives, very often the Lord works in ways that we are not expecting. We let the Lord slip by us in the events of our lives and in the people in our lives. We want our way and we want people to act the way we think they should.

The word spoken in the old testament, manifest in Jesus, is a living word — the word made flesh.

The word made flesh wants to live in you in a dynamic way. God wants to work in you in unexpected ways.

Are we willing to listen for him? Are we willing to tune our hearts and ears to him? Are we willing to ask him to reveal himself more fully to us?

Don't let God walk by you because you are expecting something else.

During this season let us open our hearts to Advent's very theme — Come Lord Jesus, wonder-counselor. Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.