Archive | December, 2019

Advent 2019- 2 stripped ….generous in time ….for such a time as this

6 Dec

Advent 2019- 2 stripped

….generous in time

for such a time as this…

“Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” – Esther 4: 13-14

Luke 2 – Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 11-12

Esther is an orphan, a jewess in an alien, a foreign culture. Chosen by contest due to her great physical beauty, she becomes the ruling society’s Queen.

Stripped of her identity, her home with guardian uncle Mordecai and her community, Esther is bathed in earthy beauties. Robes and fragrances; glances and deference. She moves from orphan to consort; from young girl to married woman. In her height, her time of physical beauty, she becomes, is, a Queen.

In His heavens, Jesus dwells eternally in a loving community: Father and Spirit communicate and touch, embrace and enjoy each other continually. They are family.Jesus and family is Lord of all, heavens and earth; cosmos and spiritual beings. He is King. But…

He comes, He chooses, voluntarily come to earth. And He comes as the least of the powerless- baby. Jesus takes off His heavenly community and becomes a homeless child. Stripped of heaven, He binds himself in time, to refugee parents, to earth. To us.

No longer in control, as a child, a newborn, he can only receive- milk and mother’s song; heat from animals on a cave manger; a father’s care. Stripped of His heaven and power, Jesus models this, His first gift: the ability, the acceptance to receive.

He models Esther’s story of receiving.

Advent is about beginnings, first gifts, and Esther – as a trope, a foreshadowing of Christ Jesus, also models this first gift. She is stripped of her past and then receives the position of Queen. In a moment her life is transformed, changed. She receives so then at the right time she can give.

She enjoys the pleasures of her kingdom. Yet, she is in a position to save her past, her Jewish heritage from the genocide of Haman, the country’s prime minister. She is in the time, the perfect moment, as Mordecai reminds her, for this-her people’s salvation.

The shepherds are told that today they have a saviour born, given to them. A gift, a Saviour, comes. Today, a time and child is given. And He is warped in swaddling clothes, clothes chosen dnd blessed by His mother Mary- holy anointed, yet humble clothes. Stripped of the heavens, the baby Jesus is covered with earthly sounds and smells; human fallible love and joy. But …Why- this time, this gift?

To model salvation. Salvation is a received gift. By faith Esther approaches the King though going to him it summoned exposes her to possible death. By, and with, faith she moves. She approaches and is received.

The man Jesus also moves. He moves miracles and teaching; listening and living. He models receiving and giving to his disciples. Then He moves them to move: He to send them out in the advent of their ministry in Matthew 10. His last and primary instruction to them is,

8 ‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.’

This is salvation’s message: receive and give, freely.

Esther, in her journey, is adorned with earthly riches and power. She first receives.

Jesus’ in His Advent journey, His choice is to lose all His heavens for us.

Esther’s story mirrors Jesus in reverse: she is adorned, He stripped. She receives; He discards. Yet…

…both, after freely receiving, Esther her throne, Jesus His earth and humanity, give.

And they both give the gift of salvation. Esther of her people in a specific time; Jesus to His people

of eternal time.

This Advent let go of all that you hold and is holding you. Let go and receive anew; meditate on receiving in this present moment the stories of salvation. Past and present; future and eternal.

For such a time as this, strip yourself and receive Him. He gives.

Advent 1: the gift of the moment (2019)

3 Dec

Advent 1: the gift of the moment

(the first of an eight part series)

1 Peter 1:12 (WNT) To them ( the prophets) it was revealed that they were serving not themselves but you, when they foretold the very things which have now been openly declared to you by those who, having been taught by the Holy Spirit which had been sent from Heaven, brought you the Good News. Angels long to stoop and look into these things.

This Advent, we are living in the moment, awaiting His coming. Angels are longing, bending, stooping and desiring to see our moment.

What is this moment? Mindfulness speaks of a present moment-both past and perished, yet alive and eternally present. This promised moment, this present moment is the everlasting eternal moment of Advent. It is the moment of all moments. The beginning of His new creation- it is our story moment- our advent moment: the coming of our Christ, our promised saviour into our earthly world.

Advent is about the gift of this and other moments- it is about new beginnings: newness and promise; expectations spoken and fulfilled; gifts of Magi and the Father. Our Father…. this is what Advent calls us to be mindful of. Our Father’s gift, Jesus His son.

Luke writes of these beginnings, Advent/advent moments, in both his Gospel and his book on the new Christian church. He begins his book of Acts of his church community with…

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” NIV

And in his first book, Luke’s gospel…

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly accountfor you, most excellent Theophilus,4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke 1 NIV

Luke writes, is deeply captivated, about advents, about beginnings.

The book of Acts (his second book) is about the gift of the Spirit. His Gospel is about the gift of our Saviour. These are gifts for new beginnings. Our new beginnings.

This is what Angels are stopping to look into: the Advent of the Gospel; the gift of salvation; the story of a child Saviour. They are also looking at us. They are looking at His story in, with, for us. They are looking for our new births with this story. Our advents.

This season of 2019 I will be writing about Advent beginnings: the beginnings of the Christian church in Acts, alongside the newness of a baby child in our world. These moments share in common a writer, Luke, and a Saviour; a beginning with a past; angels and shepherds; messengers and on lookers. Advent is about shared one shared moment which forms an eternity of new births, new beginnings- our stories together with His. Stories together as one

woven and still forming tapestry.

The story is about a Saviour, the Messiah. It is also about us-how we see and hear; receive and respond; live in moments and, pass, go on. It is about saving moments; eternal and everlasting moments. It is about advents, beginnings, our stories and His.

Advent is about keeping our story new and alive, a beginning without end. As eternal as the story of a homeless couple having a child in a cave manger. It is a story of the gift of the moment.

Join this eight part reflection On Advent beginnings – they will appear on Tuesdays and Fridays each week of Advent – at charlesosewalt.com

Charles