Advent Calendar 2008

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Day One : 30th November

30 November 2008

Keep Awake! Keep watch!
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Isaiah 64:1-9

1 O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence —

2 as when the fire kindles brushwood and fire causes water to boil —
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

3 When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

4 From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins "God's Grandeur"

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Bishop Jones writes:

"Forgiveness presupposes judgement. The authority of the Son of Man to forgive sins on earth assumes that the earth and its people are under some form of divine judgement. This is a theological idea which is out of fashion in many church circles although it is bedded in the imagination of popular attitude with the question "Well, if there is a God, why doesn’t he do something about the state of the world". There is an expectation that God will discern between good and bad, divide the people and act against those and that which is evil. Herein lies an aspiration for a God of justice to judge. I have often said that if we press the question and the hope for God to act in such a way, who, do we imagine, would be left? Such a longing for justice leaves us hoping for mercy. We look to God to be both Judge and Saviour. This notion that the earth and its people live under some experience of judgement is strongly felt by environmental lobbyists who daily point to the result of abusive human exploitation of the planet and to the ecological crisis now upon us. Crisis is the Greek word for judgement. When the media broadcast the headline "Environmental Crisis" they are declaring to the world a truth greater than we realise. We are reaping what we sow. This is the crisis, the judgement: "Do not be deceived" wrote Paul "God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow" (Galatians 5)."