" A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.”
In a stable in Bethlehem things changed. Divinity took on humanity; eternity took on the temporal; and the God of the universe limited Himself to a body. A new model was born. A new rule and reign entered into the earth. A new way of living, a new way of learning, a new way of loving burst onto the scene and the world would never be the same.
Jesus was from the root, or stump, of Jesse according to the genealogy in Matthew 1. He was full of the Spirit of God, always full of wisdom and understanding, had wise counsel and might, and displayed knowledge and the reverence of God. Jesus sought justice for the poor and the outcast, his mouth spoke the rod of justice against the oppressors of the weak, and his words killed many an evil plot. And the kingdom that he spoke of was one of peace. All of this fits the Isaiah 11 text.
The prophetic witness is for those who are hearing it. It is a call to action. So what if this text was heralding the coming of a new reign; a time when justice, righteousness, and peace are the true rulers? A time when everything out of order is brought into order. A time when everything must change because the Branch will bear fruit. It is a radical reality – out of a dead stump comes a new way of living. The wolf and the lamb live together and no one gets hurt!
This is the kind of unconventional faith to which Jesus calls us. This is the stuff Advent is made of – unconventional faith in the birth of baby Jesus, and unconventional faith in the return of the Messiah who brings radical peace, radical love, and radical unity. Could this radical reality be the message of Christmas?
This Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent. A time of faith. A time when hope emboldens us to believe, to have faith in the fact that Jesus will return for us. Advent Faith. Worship with us online this Sunday at 10:00am, at www.umcgt.org, or via phone by calling 562-314-1212, as we talk about Unconventional Faith. It’s also the 1st Sunday, so feel free to prepare something at home so that we can take Holy Communion together.
This week you will receive a letter from me introducing our new Care Team Ministry, a new discipleship tool called RightNow Media, and several upcoming Advent and Christmas events. All intended to be a blessing for you and your family as you grow in your faith from home. I pray that you are staying safe and staying in prayer!