Tear Open the Heavens and Come Down! (First Sunday of Advent)

This week we begin Advent. It is a season of reflection, lament, preparation, and hopeful expectation. We anticipate Jesus who comes to bring healing and new life. The Scriptures for this week were Isaiah 64:1-12 and Matt 3:13-17.

The prophet Isaiah begins with a lament: “God, why don’t you tear the heavens and come down!” The way that the prophet frames this reminds us of those who show morning by tearing their clothes and sitting in ash. “God, why don’t you mourn with us? Why don’t you make yourself known and bring us redemption?!” Isaiah remembers the God who liberated Israel from Egypt. The God who stood by the people, enacting justice and showing mercy. This God, Isaiah says, would shake the mountains, perform great acts of redemption.

And we too call out and remember in Advent. In Advent we take time not to rush past our need for healing, or as we do too often, to skip past Advent and simply go to Christmas. Skipping Advent allows us all the joy with none of the pain or reflection. Nevertheless, we cannot simply drown out the pain and the healing that is needed in the world. Christmas is the coming of a Savior, of our Healer, and we remember in lament and anticipation our great need for healing. It is good and healthy to admit we need healing from those things that afflict us in the world and from those things that war within us causing us to lash out against others.

Let us this year not get caught up in the noise and easy consumer joy of the Christmas around us. In Advent we anticipate Jesus. We anticipate healing. We sit in lament, repentance, and hope for true healing. The light will dawn from on high to guide our feet in the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79).

So we say, “God, why don’t you tear open the heavens and come down?!” And we anticipate that God will do just that. Maybe not with shaking mountains our great signs of judgment. Instead, God tears open the heavens and comes down on Jesus. Jesus, who is our hope and healing. He teaches us to walk the ways of peace. So this Advent we walk the journey to Nazareth, moving in darkness, knowing our lament and brokenness, with anticipation for the light that is dawning on the horizon.

God will come down. The dawn is coming.

Things to think about

  • How are we intentionally taking time to sit in the darkness, silence, and reflection of Advent and not allowing ourselves to get caught up in the noise of the Christmas season all around us?
  • What ways do you need healing? Reflect on the healing you, your neighbors, and the world around you needs. Sit, and meditate, allowing the love and light of God to overwhelm you and shine into these areas, in anticipation and hope of healing that we anticipate with Jesus.

You can listen to the sermon here:

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For convenience sake, there is also a podcast available. You can find that here.

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Contact Info

Pasadena Mennonite Church
Meeting at Pasadena Church of the Brethren
1041 North Altadena Drive
Pasadena CA 91107

Sunday Services begin with fellowship at 10:00am —
Worship begins at 10:30am