Out of the Darkness

Advent 1: Isaiah 2:1-5, Matthew 24:36-44
When we get to Advent, we are expecting the coming of Christ. Our minds jump to images of a mom and dad walking to Bethlehem to be counted in the government census, a baby in a manger, angels appearing to shepherds on the hillside. Our ears look forward to the familiar strains of “Silent Night” or “O Come All Ye Faithful”. We anticipate hearing from family and friends, special family gatherings and gift exchanges, special holiday foods. Our natural tendency is to jump right in and celebrate Christmas. Advent invites us to focus not only on Jesus’s first coming, in the form of a baby in the manger, but also on his second coming as described by the prophets of Old and New Testaments. This morning we look at both the visions of Isaiah and of Matthew regarding the Coming One. The message is one of transformation, of change and new life…
Isaiah opens with visions of what will come. We will be touching down on various pieces of the prophet Isaiah throughout our Advent journey this year. We begin with a look at the invitation to walk in the light of the Lord. Isaiah offers a vision of a day when all nations will stream to God’s temple, up to the mountain of the Lord. The Lord will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. The need for war will be over. Weapons of war will be transformed into useful tools for good. This is what it will look like to walk in the light of the Lord. Our first candle in our mega advent wreath represents the light. Continue reading “Out of the Darkness”

Don’t Give Up!

Luke 18:1-8                                                                                                                      10.20.19

The Osage nation, together with other native American tribes, was shuffled to a desolate area of the Midwest called “Indian Territory”, with some of them settling in what was to become the state of Oklahoma.  Over a period of many years, the US government systematically removed tribes from their ancestral lands and forced them to live separated from white settlers treating native Americans like they did not belong here, refusing to allow them to practice their traditional religion or speak their native tongue.  It was a painful period in our history that has left its imprint on multiple generations to follow.  When oil was discovered beneath their section of “Indian territory”, suddenly the Osage were wealthy, wealthier than any of their neighbors of any ethnic background.  Every member of the tribe was allotted a regular share of the proceeds from the oil production.  Yet because the Osage were not viewed as fully capable of managing their own money, most were assigned whites to serve as guardians over their share of the oil money, many of whom were dishonest and disrespectful, refusing to allow the Osage to spend their own money as they needed or claiming a portion of the funds for themselves.

This ugly story is chronicled in the book our multicultural book club is reading for our November discussion, titled Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann.  In it, the sordid, shameful history of the way we have subjected people to oppression is exposed for all to see.  Continue reading “Don’t Give Up!”