First Sunday in Advent
Psalm 95 is the reading for this first week of Advent—advent—“the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration” of the birth of our LORD Jesus. A couple of things jump off the page at me this morning. Reading in New Living. First, the focus on community in verses 1-6: Let us sing, let us shout joyfully, let us come to him with thanksgiving, let us sing psalms of praise, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our God, he is our God, We are the people he watches over. I guess this should not surprise me since God entered into our world to make community possible, fellowship first with the Father, Son and Spirit and then with others who bow in worship before Him. And then there is the community of all of humanity—all of those created in his image. A confession—community is not something I do well but then again, it is also something without which I cannot live well! So how will I involve community in my advent? The fact that I am even thinking about advent is a surprise in itself since advent is almost completely neglected in the church traditions that I have grown up with as a Christian.
Although I also now see the character of the one towards whom and for whom I worship together in community, the second thing I noticed about this Psalm this morning was the latter part beginning at the end of verse 7. As I read, “If only you would listen to his voice today” my senses become alert to what follows in 7-10. “Hardened hearts, tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did, hearts turned away from me, refuse to do what I tell them.” Advent calls me to reflect on my heart condition—and I suppose I need to work out a way to do this also in community?