Have you ever felt out of sorts? Off-balance? Maybe not in a big way, but just that your whole life seems to be just a little bit off-kilter?
Most people know that the name Emmanuel means “God with us,” and from both Hebrew and Christian narratives we hear a deep yearning for this “Emmanuel” — for God’s presence be so pronounced within us that everything large and small that was out of sorts would be brought into peaceful balance. I think it’s the same for most of us every day in some way. But how do we access this peaceful balance that is ours to claim as Christians?
This Sunday in the Sanctuary we will continue our Joy to the World Advent worship series with, “Make the Nations Prove: Peaceful Joy.”
In our scripture readings on this third Sunday of Advent, we find the promise that “God will judge between the nations and settle disputes of mighty nations. . . they will no longer learn how to make war.
This idea is reverberated by the fourth verse of the classic Christmas Hymn that has served as backdrop for our Advent season this year, where we find the text: “He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love, . . .”
When we consider this particular vision of joy we find encapsulated in the deep yearning for “Emmanuel,” we find the desire for God to become so present within us that God’s peace, truth, love, and justice reigns among all the world, and mighty nations will no longer learn how to make war.
What kind of peace do you yearn for? If each of us joins this deep yearning for Emmanuel — God’s presence with us and within us — how might that change the world? What kind of new balance could that kind of Peaceful Joy bring about within us and to our lives?
I look forward to exploring these ideas of Peaceful Joy with you this Sunday in the Sanctuary.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster