advent 2021, his coming, week 2 – Jesus’ proclaims

29 Nov
Jesus’ sharing from Isaiah

Recently, I was in a church and a lyric from one of the worship songs was, “I speak Jesus; over every heart and mind”

The story of Advent is the the story of how Jesus’ name was given, spoken in essence, proclaimed, proclaimed to all.

In my two Advent reflections last week, we looked at the nature of Messiah by examining Old Testament peoples’ expectations of the promised Messiah/Saviour ( a king leader; mighty warrior of justice ). Yet, the Old Testament also hints at another attribute of the Messiah, that of a marred, suffering servant.

Our Jesus comes to proclaim that these two views are not in opposition to each other but, that in an essential truth, they describe in unity the Messiah with us: a servant warrior. Jesus.

And how is our Messiah to both serve and fight for righteousness, for justice, for us? Jesus teaches with parables and probing questions; Jesus eats and sit with sinners; Jesus heals and comforts, challenges and accepts questioning. But Jesus primary purpose as he seeks the lost is proclaim the good news, the gospel.

By Old Testament proclamation and prophecy, Jesus comes as Messiah; by proclaming Jesus speaks, claims the truth. And when he is in public teaching, Jesus calls to and claims his people, his sheep, his kingdom. When Jesus proclaims, He is fulfilling

Isaiah’s prophesy of the coming Messiah is as one who proclaims,

61 ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour…’

As in a worship song’s chorus that repeats as in a prayer a key verses over and over again, ( I speak (( proclaim )) Jesus ), Isaiah repeats the key verbal action of the Messiah: to proclaim.

Webster’s dictionary defines proclamation as, – ‘to declare publicly, typically insistently, proudly, or defiantly and in either speech or writing’

A proclaimer then speaks a message strongly, as a leader warrior. Proclaiming is a specific speech genre. Not an indirect message as in a parable, but a direct message of import. Speaking forcefully, a proclaimer reveals the truth to all. And Jesus comes to proclaim good news, favour, love. He comes to proclaim the radical gospel of love of God, love for neighbours, and love of the lost.

Jesus comes as the Word, the proclaimed word so that His love can became the life, the flesh of all.

My prayer: help us, help me, to listen my Jesus. Listen.

Advent Wonder 2021, reflection 2, ‘his coming’ – the suffering warrior

26 Nov
Magi

Jesus’ coming was a living and troubling paradox for the people of his time. Was he to be a great warrior king who comes to lead? Or was the Messiah to be a servant who teaches, heals and loves as he serves?

Peoples of the Mid East, those belonging to the Magi’s Asian country, the Greeks, the Romans, all believed in warrior Messiahs, all powerful Gods. In principle, their common belief was that an all powerful King/priest would appear and lead all to a safe place, a kingdom, of righteousness and peace.

The Magi are exemplars of such a belief. ( Matthew 2 )A group of scholars who studied skies and ancient scrolls as their family and community directed for centuries, believed that a great warrior king from the heavens would come to earth to be worshipped as the chosen to make all wrongs right.

The Old Testament describes such a warrior king in paradox, as both a warrior and a suffering servant: ( Isaiah 42:13 “The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”

But Isaiah also depicts a suffering servant as Messiah – ( “he was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” Isaiah 53: 12 ).

How can a Saviour Messiah be both warrior and a servant? Jesus shows us how at the beginning of his ministry in his hometown Nazareth’s synagogue, ( from Luke 4 )

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captive and recovering of sight to the blind to set at liberty those who are oppressed,19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth….

Jesus boldly picks up Isaiah’s scroll and reads the prophetic description of a Messiah who will come to heal, to make wrongs right, and to proclaim the year of Jubilee, of favour.

Here,as a warrior teacher, Jesus then follows his reading by sitting and breathing these words, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Speaking his words with Isaiah’s can only be heard, seen as Jesus laying claim to being the Messiah. But what type of Messiah? The text describing the people’s reactions reveals the, this Saviour’s nature:

At first the people of his hometown are excited and in awe at his words. But when his words challenge their past understanding of the warrior Messiah, their hearts and minds reverse from awe to anger,

….all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.”

Such a Saviour, such a Messiah, wars against brokenness by speaking with truth- the whole complete truth: the saviour will suffer and heal; the saviour will be a lamb before the slaughter and a zealous might warrior; our saviour will come as the word made flesh: the way, the truth, the light …

And he does it by risking rejection and brokenness himself. He does it to be experiencing death and resurrection.

He comes to complete and solve our greatest paradox: by dying in belief, I live. From everlasting to everlasting, I will live with Him.

my prayer: come this 2021 Advent to us, to me, again my Jesus; deepen my understanding of how your love answers all paradoxes.

Come my Jesus, come.

1 Advent Wonder, his coming, from Isaiah 61

24 Nov

The Book of Isaiah has different ‘voices’ for the people of Israel at deep points of their journey, from their exile to their return; from judgements to healings. Yet all these voices have one central theme: a Messiah is coming. And He is coming in power. Thus Isaiah’s book is a song of power; it is a book of promise.

What is promise? It is the coming Messiah’s promise: all will have an everlasting relationship from, with, an all powerful saviour.

These are words of joy,the song of joy and it is a healing voice of joy.

Wikipedia also speaks of the power of Isaiah words as the ‘5th gospel’ and how this book influenced culture ‘from the libretto of Handel’s Messiah to a host of such everyday phrases as “swords into ploughshares” and “voice in the wilderness“.’ Yet, for the people of the 8th century BCE, they heard one voice: a voice describing the coming, the advent of a saviour, the Messiah, as here,

Isaiah 61

“ The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor….”

In exile the people were in silence and loneliness. They are, were, separated from their lands and homes. Their capital’s, centre city Jerusalem’s walls were destroyed. A city without walls is a as child alone, without a mother, a parent. And yet, here, they have returned and Isaiah both acknowledges their despairs (‘ darkness; ashes ‘ ) and, speaking in the voice of the Messiah, promises healings: a ‘ crown of beauty ‘ & ‘ year of favour ‘.

It is telling. Why?

Isaiah writes of the coming blessings before he acknowledges the hurts. Comforts and joys promise comes in his text before the mourning of the past. On their return they daily see their devastated homes and temple. ( verses 2 & 3 ). Yet while these aches and absences of the past are quite present, the Messiah focuses on future healings, promises and love,

“…And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,

    and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.”

Their Lord loves them and justice. He will be theirs as one essential word repeated twice in these closing promises: ‘everlasting’ – everlasting joy and covenant.

They, we, will never be separated from Him. He will be theirs, and ours, from everlasting to ever everlasting- together, we hear His voice.

This is Advent: This everlasting is coming.

Rejoice.

giving, receiving

3 Nov

yesterday, Priscilla I sat with Marilyn a lovely white haired and thin lady ( 86 ) as she opened up her outdoor puzzle table. Her puzzle was images of birds of all colours, magenta to corn flower blue. She and her fellow puzzle companions love bright colours. ( easier to see )

Priscilla and I had just brought a ‘ World of Jane Austen ‘ puzzle 🧩 to give as a gift to them.

Jane

As we gave her the puzzle I asked her to keep our names anonymous as I always believe in giving without letting ( as much as possible) the receiver know who sent the gift. Why?

To keep my motives as pure as possible.

Marilyn said ‘oh no! You have to leave us the ability to say “thank you.”

Moved, I said, please let them know.

Halloween pictures from Tampa Florida

2 Nov
the pumpkin king Priscilla and I designed and craved
father and daughter, Deirdra
mother ( in her baby Yoda t shirt costume) and daughter
Liv happy, excited
the Seither clan
west chase, Tampa, goes all out for Halloween…hundreds of people in the streets
Albert without his costume
Albert in his costume

And finally, all the pumpkins

advent wonder 2021, his coming

29 Oct

Advent season comes in winter, when there is less light than any other time of year. Our need for light, our deep desire for light this season, can be seen by all the artificial lights we surround ourselves with: building lights; Christmas tree illuminations; candle lighting worship services abound. We need light. Light comforts.

The peoples of Jesus’ time needed light also. Living without modern lightings, darkness was their constant companion, their ‘old friend’ if you will. They searched the scriptures, especially the words of the prophets, in search of the ultimate saving light, a Messiah. This is the Advent they prayed, they waited, they lived for. As a candle in a darkened room comforts, so did the OT scriptures comfort a people’s’ waiting.

On Mondays this Advent season we will be looking at scriptures these ancient people studied for light on the Messiah’s advent. ( For example, the Magi were one such group. ) On Fridays we will looking at New Testament scriptures that describe Jesus’ coming, His life.

In a real sense the Old Testament prophecies were first a darkly understood description of the Messiah’s advent; the New Testament aligned with these Old Testaments, reveal the Messiah Jesus in full understanding. Together the OT & the NT give full light. And they clearly illuminate a loving, saving Messiah, Jesus.

Welcome to Advent 2021, his coming.

We begin on Monday, 22 November looking at Isaiah 61 verses 1-4 & 8b – 10

Friday 26 November we will look at Luke 4 verses 14 -22 a & 25 – 30

Photograph from September 11BY WISŁAWA SZYMBORSKATRANSLATED BY CLARE CAVANAGH

11 Sep

a poem, on for this day

They jumped from the burning floors—
one, two, a few more,
higher, lower.

The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them   
above the earth toward the earth.

Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.

There’s enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.

They’re still within the air’s reach,
within the compass of places
that have just now opened.

I can do only two things for them—
describe this flight
and not add a last line.

the rest is silence …. part 1 of 4

2 Sep

Without knowing till these few present moments, today’s moments, I have lived in fearful abysses composed of, formed by silences. Birthed of years of not being heard, or seen; felt or touched. Not truly remembered, seen, or heard. I emotionally, physically and spiritually lived in abysses- and they were destroying me. And I was not aware consciously of my devolving till this day. My abyss had become my home, my abode. My true abuser.
Hamlet faces abysses also. His final four words are reflected in Roy Batty’s parting thoughts from ‘Blade Runner’ (1982)


“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. [laughs] Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like [coughs] tears in rain. Time to die.”

The fear here is of time’s abyss: all is lost. All.
All is silent. No hears or remembers, deeply.


But, yet…
As a Christian I believe, though I struggle moment by moment with this life forming principle: God is not silent; He wastes nothing. He feels Afghanistan’s hurting peoples as well as me, as well as you. God is one abyss.
Paul in his letter to the Roman churches and people writes, I believe, to those enveloped by silences: me-

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ( Romans 8 )

All silences, all things, God ‘works’ for good. I, we, just have to love him. Live with him; rest with, rest in the silences he gifts me. He is with me in my silent abysses.

He…
with me. And that is enough.

a new home, Tampa

30 Aug

Priscilla and moved this last week in August to Tampa, Florida… ( I know, who moves to Florida in August…) (( our new address is

375 Berwick Court – Charles and Priscilla Osewalt-
Dunedin, Florida 34698

PS We are actually in Dunedin, not Tampa

Here is a short video of Priscilla in our community pool with Grandkids / …

happy

and a picture…

Tampa, Dunedin family

in a church yesterday, during the talk, by mind wander and so, a thought for you all, from my mind’s new home

from proverbs 19, two verses today, first.. x

17 
‘Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
    and he will reward them for what they have done.’

and the 2nd,

22 
‘What a person desires is unfailing love
    better to be poor than a liar.’

I spoke on, shared, taught in sermon forms on both of these passages separately but yesterday I saw their beautiful connections:

If I give to the ‘thin’ ( Hebrew for ‘poor’ – emotionally, financially and spiritually- ) then I both love unconditionally and I am so loved

one act produces waves, winds of love, in all directions, in all ways

his robe,

13 Aug
His robe, covers

3 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

love is his robe for us, love