December 4, 2016
Righteousness. It's kind of a sticky word, isn't it? Problematic even, for the ways it is used as a hammer or cudgel more than a promise or gift. And yet, for the promise, the gift, it draws us in. We want to live in a righteous world whether its the kind the surfer turtle screams about in Finding Nemo...
...or the kind of righteousness that finds the poor not just getting a great meal and some nice gifts around Christmas, but a home to live in that they were able to do meaningful, rewarding work to maintain. Both are pretty cool, frankly. "Righteousness shall be the belt around [the Messiah's] waist..." Isaiah 11:5 imagines.
Righteousness is one of Matthew's favorite words. And it is all over Advent in the very best way. But what does it mean? What does it look like today especially? Depending on where you look, you could make a case that everything is spinning out of control or that we are coming together in ways that we've long waited for. Take this video from an online retailing beheamoth that has, as they say, "blown up" recently. The world this ad selling, well, we won't spoil the surprise if you haven't seen it yet, selling something, imagines a world that is also pretty sticky, pretty compelling, righteous even!
Readings for this Sunday:
Isaiah 11:1-10 • Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 • Romans 15:4-13 • Matthew 3:1-12
Catherine de Hueck Doherty, 20th century
"Faith walks simply, childlike, between the darkness of human life and the hope of what is to come."
Nelson Mandela, 20th century
"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."
Edward Hays, 20th century
"Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace."
Paul Gauguin, 19th century
"I shut my eyes in order to see."
Ashleigh Brilliant, 20th century
"All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power."
Martin Luther King Jr., 20th century
“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
C.S. Lewis, 20th century - The Four Loves
“Man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God. For what can be more unlike than fullness and need, sovereignty and humility, righteousness and penitence, limitless power and a cry for help?”