THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11
Most of “Third Isaiah” is about the Jews who have returned from the Babylonian exile. So much has changed. Thousands of foreign gentiles whom the Babylonians had forced into the area are now settled there. The numerous rural Jews that the Babylonians had been left behind are now practicing a splinter Judaism—the Samaritans. The walls of Jerusalem are down, the Temple reduced to rubble. In this passage, the poet imagines God’s response to the troubled prayer of the returnees.
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24
Our lesson is taken from what is probably the earliest of the surviving letters of Paul—the first letter to the Christians of Thessalonica (modern Salonica, in Macedonia). It may have been written as early as 50 AD. This colony had suffered persecution, and not only survived, but thrived. In our lesson, we hear Paul’s injunction to lead a life of purity while awaiting the second coming of Christ.
©Arthur H. Cash