Monday, December 1, 2008

The First Week of Advent: Monday

Today's psalm reading is from Psalm 112.

Whereas yesterday's words focused our attention wholly on God as the One who shines his face on us in salvation, bringing light to our darkness, today's Scripture emphasizes that those who receive his glorious grace reflect that light to those around them through acts of love and mercy.
Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures for ever.
They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered for ever.
They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures for ever;
their horn is exalted in honour.
The wicked see it and are angry;
they gnash their teeth and melt away;
the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.
This psalm of wisdom, of course, does not tell the whole story of life. Certainly the righteous suffer and their case is not always heard in this fallen world. And we know that the wicked prosper, often frustratingly so to those who long for justice. Nevertheless, Christian believers hold to a longer view, an ultimate sense of the right, the rewards of virtue, and the just punishment of evil. We look to a God who will one day put the world to rights, who has indeed taken the major step toward doing so in the first Advent of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

To follow him in Advent means to be partners with him in this work. Today. Each day. Until he comes again.

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