Friday, December 12, 2014

Bishop's Note 3 For Advent 3 Year B

Bishop Eric Menees

This Advent Season, my Bishop's Notes are focused on the prophecies of Isaiah written about 700 years prior to the birth of Jesus.  However, this week’s prophecy from the sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, which will be read this Sunday - the Third Sunday of Advent - speaks not to the first advent of Jesus, which took place two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, but to the Second Advent of Jesus, which is yet to come.  

"The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord." (Isaiah 65:25)

God, speaking through Isaiah, paints a beautiful picture which would have seemed impossible to the people of 700 B.C., and still seems impossible to the people of 2014 A.D.  However, God's Word is perfect, and there is no doubt in my mind that in time we will see not only the coming of the Lord, but also the restoration of His Creation to its original state.

In the Garden of Eden before the Fall - when Adam and Eve knew no shame - the wolf and the lamb were not hunter and prey, but fellow creatures in a perfect land and a perfect time.  This is what God intended.

In the restoration of the heavens and the earth, the king of beasts will not be required to hunt for his food, for it will grow from the earth.  Equally, in the restoration the master killer - man - will no longer harm another soul, but will live in eternal peace in the presence of the Lord.  However, the serpent (Satan) will not be restored - he will still be forced to slither along the ground.

The question isn't whether or not God will restore the heavens and the earth, but rather when, and what shall we do until then?

One of the possible readings for this coming Sunday, in place of the Psalm, is the Magnificat (AKA the Song of Mary from Luke 1:46-55).  It contains the Virgin Mary's joyful proclamation: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Luke 1:46)  The Blessed Virgin's soul cries out because she recognized how blessed she was.  We to need to recognize how blessed we are!  When we live a life of gratitude in loving response to God's first loving us, then we fulfill our very purpose in life: "To glorify God and enjoy Him for ever…,” to quote the Westminster Catechism.  

My prayer for you and my prayer for me this Advent Season is that we may set this as our goal and chief aim in life.  And to that I say... AMEN!  

Catechism Questions 52 - 54

52.    Why is Jesus called the Father’s “only Son?”
Jesus alone is God the Son, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He alone is the image of the invisible Father, the one who makes the Father known. He is now and forever will be incarnate as a human, bearing his God-given human name. The Father created and now rules all things in heaven and earth “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-5; John 1:18)
53.    What do you mean when you call Jesus Christ “Lord?”
I acknowledge Jesus’ authority over the Church and all creation, over all societies and their rulers, and over every aspect of my personal, social, professional, recreational, and family life. I surrender my life to him and seek to live every part of my life in a way that pleases him. (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:21-22; Luke 9:23-26)
54.     How was Jesus conceived by the Holy Spirit?

Through the creative power of the Holy Spirit, the eternal Son assumed a fully human nature from his mother, the Virgin Mary, in personal union with his fully divine nature at the moment of conception in Mary’s womb. (Luke l:34-35)

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