”Yet, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, you are the potter: we are all the work your hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look upon us, we pray, for we are all your people.” This article is written as a result of a contemplative morning and sacred reading of one of the assigned scriptures for the first Sunday in Advent 2005.
Following a busy few weeks and the need to ‘be still’, I spent the morning in contemplation enjoying “sacred time”. As is my usual custom I updated my web-page Personal Edification through Prayer”. On this page I provide a way for busy individuals to spend quality in time meditation and prayer. Each week I select various readings and I make use of them myself [leading by example]. For my personal Lectio Divinia I read Isaiah 64:1-9. The verses 8-9 spoke to me as I realised that the season of Advent or as the Oxford Dictionary says ‘the arrival of a new person or thing’ is meant to usher in a new beginning, in other words allow for a chance to start life afresh.
Unfortunately many of us get caught up in the world’s definition of the season and we forget the awesome sacrifice made for us by our Father. In order that we might have a second chance he sent HIS only son to redeem and reclaim us, if you will, taking us our of darkness into glorious light. The scripture passage became so clear!! It caused me to think of another passage in Isaiah, 43:25 in which we are told that our Father blots out our transgressions and remembers our sins no more. Actually it begins in the first chapter of this book [which I love] in verse 18 where we are invited to meet with the Lord and again be told that though our sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.
Before I go any further, I should mention that in the Anglo and Roman Catholic churches the season of Advent is celebrated and therefore unlike others we do not yet begin to sing the traditional Christmas hymns until the morning of Christmas. Instead Advent is for us a time of preparation to meet the coming Saviour. Just as we prepare to host a guest coming to visit so we prepare for the Advent of Christ. What we must however do is come to the place where we stopping looking at the “babe in the manger” and instead look at the man JESUS as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Perhaps this is why this particular passage has spoken to me, as a confirmation that I’m still a work in progress no matter how much I have accomplished by way of ministry to others, I am still in need of forgiveness and to go to God with humility and ask for it. I love the hymns selected for the season and one in particular seems to complement the scripture reading: –
On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake, and hearken, for HE brings
Glad tidings of the King of Kings.
Then cleansed be very breast from sin;
Make straight the way for GOD within;
Prepare we in our hearts a home,
Where such a mighty Guest may come.
For Thou art our Salvation, Lord,
Our Refuge, and our great Reward;
Without Thy grace we waste away,
Like flowers that whither and decay.
To heal the sick stretch Thine Hand,
And bid the fallen sinner stand;
Shine forth, and let Thy light restore
Earth’s own true loveliness once more.
All praise, Eternal Son, to Thee
Whose Advent doth Thy people free,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore.
I pray that as you read this message it will spark a ‘new thing’ in you and that the arrival of the Lord will the beginning of new miracles in your life and mine.
Author: R. Cecilia Askew
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