Advent Reflection: Psalm 107

I spoke to a woman this week who was surprised at the reaction of her neighbors, whom she described as a grumbling and isolated, when she invited them to a Christmas celebration of the Hispanic tutoring program at our church. Families made tamales and a local service club served the meal. There were children, parents, tutors and community members all together celebrating. The neighbors were surprised, actually shocked to see so much energy, smiles, love in one room among people of different languages, ages, wealth and background at a church.

She smiled as she told me the story because she connected her story with the story I preached last Sunday. As the rich young ruler spoke with Jesus scripture tells us Jesus "looked at him and loved him." Jesus invested something in this man that gave him every reason to follow him. The word for "look" literally means "gaze" or "consider." Jesus used this word in Matthew 6: "consider the lillies of the field."  

The word for love is "to appreciate with high regard." Jesus' invitation to man (which he turned down) to follow was an invitation to give away those things that kept him at arm's distance from God (selling his possessions), and to participate in God's Kingdom (give to the poor).

This elderly couple had the opportunity to see for themselves what it looked like to contribute your life to something in a positive way

After the tragedy last weekend in Newtown, Connecticut, there has a been a worldwide movement of 26 Acts; one act of kindness for each of the children and adults who were gunned down by an act of violence.

How we long for good over evil. How we long for love over hate.

Jesus came to invite us to live our lives both eliminating those things that keep him from the center, and inviting us to actually be a part of God's redemption, healing, gathering, feeding, deliverance in our world. The Psalmist describes the kind of work God loves to do, and and invitation to "consider" or think on how great God's love is.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this-- those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress...  Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD. (Psalm 107:1-6, 43)

Christmas focuses our attention on the baby born, Jesus, who invites us to follow him and grow in that same love for each other and the world. 


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