Biblical Text: Isaiah 64:1-9
It is the first Sunday of Advent. I typically use the traditional text for the Gospel lesson of the day, the Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday. All the best Advent hymns for the day are keyed to that text. The story being told is the welcoming of the King. But I chose the Old Testament text to preach from today. This text is from the “third Isaiah” which I simple think of as the portion the prophet addresses to the those who have returned from exile yet find the experience not what was hoped for.
Isaiah’s plea feels like the plea of all those who believe they have the answers but are ignored. “Would that you would rend the heavens and come down.” It is not the lament of unbelief, nor is it the prayer of those persecuted. It is the cry of the dismissed. It is the ask of those more zealous for the Lord than maybe the Lord himself. Think Joshua running to Moses about Eldad and Medad. Or James and John seeking fire from heaven on a volunteer disciple. The plea is not in itself sinful, but we should examine our motivations. Do we desire God’s presence that we might be proved right over our enemies? Or do we desire it for the sake of His promises? This sermon meditates on faith, the promises of God and our desire to seem them in power.