As a part of our Advent observances at Grace, we are making use of Concordia Publishing’s Behold the Child materials for worship. Our web devotions through Christmas will be guided by Pastor Kevin Golden’s devotional booklet written in support of the Behold the Child theme (you may purchase a downloadable copy of Pr. Golden’s book by following this link).
For the most vulnerable in society
For growth in hope
Text: Psalm 146:9
The Church contends for [the vulnerable] because the Lord contends for us! –Pr. Golden
MY SIGN OFF DURING THIS SEASON has referred to “Advent hope.” Hope is one of the “key three” virtues that Paul highlights in his letters; he reminds his readers again and again that, in Christ, we have a sure hope. Like the Psalmist of old who called upon Israel to wait on and hope in the Lord (130:5), Paul calls on us to do the same.
Our ability to hope is a key factor in how we see the vulnerable in our world. When we talk of the poor, the orphaned, the refugee and the sojourner, we typically talk in terms of justice and rights, but our sense of justice rest on our hopes. What we hope for, whether for ourselves or the vulnerable, will determine how we exercise justice, or charity, or any of the other areas of public purpose that we discuss endlessly in this land. Decisions about life finally devolve down to “do we have any hope that things will get better, or be worthwhile, or work out right?”
I encountered a quote a day or two ago that sharply makes the point of how our hopes color and affect what we choose:
A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured. —Andrew Coyne
The vulnerable of all stripes cannot long endure in a world that has no hope.
Today, Christians who gather for Evening Prayer will sing this verse from the Great-O-Antiphons (you may recognize it as part of a hymn):
O Dayspring! Splendor of light everlasting:
Come and enlighten those
who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death.
Christ our Dayspring, our Light that does not fail, our Hope for all time is on the way.
May you live in Advent hope ~ Pr. Dave Brooks
--Quoted materials are from Behold the Child Daily Devotions #12-4563
© 2019 Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission under license 20:12-1. www.cph.org