Archive for the ‘Agnosticism’ Tag

Devotion for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year B (ILCW Lectionary)   1 comment

Above:  U.S. Highway 93, Near Ely, Nevada

Image Source = Google Earth

Disappointment with God

DECEMBER 10, 2023

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

According to the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship (ILCW) Lectionary (1973), as contained in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Worship (1982)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Isaiah 40:1-10

Psalm 85 (LBW) or Psalm 19 (LW)

2 Peter 3:8-14

Mark 1:1-8

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Stir up in our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way for your only Son. 

By his coming give us strength in our conflicts

and shed light on our path through the darkness of the world; 

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 13

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of your only-begotten Son

that at his second coming we may worship him in purity;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Lutheran Worship (1982), 11

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The assigned readings for this week, taken together, are more positive in tone than last week’s readings.  God forgives us, both individually and collectively.  In Isaiah 40, the focus is on the impending end of the Babylonian Exile, followed by a second Exodus.  Yet none of this absolves us–individually and collectively–of our obligations to God and each other.  The seeming delay in divine actions is to our advantage, we read.  We–individually and collectively–need to use this gift of time well.  And, when God does act, the manner of that action may not be what we–individually and collectively–expect.  So, we may miss it if we are not properly attentive.

Expectations can be tricky.  They establish a standard of human satisfaction or disappointment.  This standard may be unfair.  We human beings are entitled to our informed opinions Alas, many expectations flow from uninformed opinions.  Therefore, we may unwittingly set ourselves–individually and collectively–up for disappointment.  Then we complain to God, as if God is responsible for our disappointment.

Arguing faithfully with God is my second favorite aspect of Judaism.  (Monotheism is my first.)  I, as a Christian, embrace arguing with God as part of my inheritance from Judaism.  Yet I grasp that arguing faithfully differs from merely arguing.  Merely arguing can function as a distraction from admitting how little I know.

Isaiah 40:8, in Robert Alter’s translation, reads:

Grass dries up, the flower fades,

but the word of our God stands forever.

The “word,” in this case, means what God says, not any particular canon of scripture.  The word of God, whom we can describe partially and never fully understand, stands forever.  In other words, God is faithful forever.  And God refuses to fit inside any theological box.

Does that disappoint us?  If so, it is our problem, not God’s.

I know an Episcopal priest who deals deftly with people who tell him they do not believe in God.  He asks these individuals to describe the God in whom they do not believe.  They invariably describe a deity in whom the priest does not believe either.

God created us in the divine image.  We have imagined God in our image.  Then we have become disappointed with this false image of God while mistaking it for God.  This is one of those forms of “unperceived guilt” (Psalm 19:13, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures) of which we need God to clear us.

By grace, may we perceive and frolic in the gracious surprises of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 28, 2023 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTH DAY OF LENT

THE FEAST OF ANNA JULIA HAYWARD COOPER AND ELIZABETH EVELYN WRIGHT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATORS

THE FEAST OF MARY LYON, U.S. CONGREGRATIONALIST FEMINIST AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BADGER, SR., U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST AND PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER; FIRST MISSIONARY TO THE WESTERN RESERVE

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL SIMON SCHMUCKER, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN CASSIAN AND JOHN CLIMACUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS AND SPIRITUAL WRITERS (TRANSFERRED FROM FEBRUARY 29)

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUIS DE LEON, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN (TRANSFERRED FROM FEBRUARY 29)

THE FEAST OF PATRICK HAMILTON, FIRST SCOTTISH PROTESTANT MARTYR, 1528 (TRANSFERRED FROM FEBRUARY 29)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Link to the corresponding post at BLOGA THEOLOGICA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisement