Readings and stuff for Sunday (Nov 28)
This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, and the beginning of a new church year. We begin lectionary cycle A, which means that most of the Gospel readings will be from Matthew for a while.
Advent is a season of anticipation and expectation. The word "Advent" is from the Latin adventus meaning "coming". Advent is sometimes thought of as a time of getting our house ready (which can be our homes, our lives and parish) for an important guest.
The Prophet Isaiah ("King of the Prophets") was the son of Amoz (AY – moz). He lived and worked in the southern kingdom of Judah (which is really the city of Jerusalem and its immediate environs) about 750 years before the time of Jesus. His writings were composed before, during and after the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 B.C., and so he was able to warn Judah that they would go the way of their northern kinsmen if things did not change. His warnings fell of deaf ears, and Judah was defeated by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.
In this Sunday's reading, God presents the vision of a future when Jerusalem is restored, and Mount Zion (which is the mountain on which Jerusalem is situated) will serve as a beacon to all people.
Like Shakespeare, Isaiah switches from prose to poetry to heighten the effect of his words.
The first sentence is prose: "The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem". that's prose because that's just Isaiah reporting the facts.
The next section – when it's God talking – switches to poetry.
The most prominent and pervasive characteristic of Hebrew poetry is repetition, especially parallelism where repetition occurs between two or more poetic lines. Here's an example from this Sunday's reading:
He shall judge between the nations.
He shall arbitrate for many peoples
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks
When reading this passage, it's helpful to remember that there is an intended cadence in these writings, where the accent sort of bounces on the terms that are underlined:
judge ———— nations
Thank you and God bless you for your ministries among us.