Worshipping the King of Kings This Advent
Photo by Flickr user mararie
[Editors' note: This Advent season, we will be running a series of reflections on the Bread Blog from members of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. The lectionary readings for this post are Isaiah 11:10-16; John 1:14-18; Revelation 12:1-9. Keep reading the Bread Blog for more Advent reflections each day.]
As I struggle to transition my mother into assisted living and mourn the passing of my favorite uncle and godfather, I am reminded of the importance of Jesus’s humanity. The readings today tell us that Jesus was a flesh-and-blood human being who had parents and other family members and who came from the line of Judah -- the root of Jesse and the dynasty of David. Faith may be “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1), but we want to see and experience things.
We can see our ancestors, if only in pictures. Ancestors are important in most cultures, but they were especially important to the ancestor worshippers in Indonesia 150 or so years ago. Missionaries in that area discovered that people could name their ancestors for more than 20 generations, and that the ancestors were venerated as kings. These missionaries spoke about Jesus coming from the line of Jesse and King David the patriarch and portrayed him as Christ the King. Today, the Lutheran Church in Indonesia is the fifth-largest Lutheran church body in the world, with nearly 3 million followers.
We want to see Jesus, to experience him. The incarnation, or word-made-flesh, is a pivotal event. It was necessary for God to take human form, to feel our pain, and to experience our joys. How lucky for the people who could hold Christ’s hand and listen to him speak! My spiritual advisor encourages me to “see” and experience Jesus, to envision him sitting next to me and sharing my world with me.
We want to see the Christmas story, and I am blessed to know that advent may be observed in a very physical way.
Prayer: Loving God, please help us to observe your tangible presence during Advent.
Ella Cleveland is a member at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Visit their website at www.nyapc.org.
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