Sandro Botticelli 1489
For Sunday December 18th, 2011
Year B, Fourth Sunday of Advent (2 Sam. 7, Psalm 89, Luke 1, Romans 16)
I’ve always enjoyed the scene of King David settling into his house. God has given him rest from all of his enemies and suddenly it occurs to him: “I’m living in a palace of cedar while God is living in a tent!” David’s first impulse is to bring God’s dwelling up to the standard of his own. God’s response reveals much about our own ability to presume upon God and simultaneously be blinded to his intention for us:
I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. . . When your days are over . . . I will raise up your offspring to succeed you . . . and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. . . (2 Sam. 7:8-16).
Who would be God’s son? The mystery was first revealed by the Angel Gabriel to a woman named Mary in a town on the wrong side of the tracks, in Galilee, named Nazareth. It’s as if God promised to send his son to save the State of Illinois and then did so by making a promise to a woman in Milwaukee who would eventually give birth in the City of Kenosha. Gabriel says:
You will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end (Luke 1:29-33).
Where is the place for God’s people that God promised to David in 2 Samuel? According to Gabriel and Luke, it is in the kingdom of Jesus. Where is the kingdom of Jesus present today? Wherever God’s will is being done.
This is a community into which Jesus invites each of us to enter, not because he needs us (which we might presume) but rather because he wants to bless us. How would you like to be part of a kingdom that will never end? If you are part of the community of Jesus you already are.
Point to ponder:
What do you most appreciate about the community of Jesus of which you are a member (a.k.a. your local church)? How might God be calling you in this next year to further his kingdom through your involvement there?