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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Zechariah 2:10–11

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. (NRSV)

I don’t know about you, but doesn’t the idea of a modern prophet of hope like Zechariah sound like a great idea about now? Imagine a daily podcast or blog by Zechariah written to all of us who fight worry, sadness, and discouragement with the continued spate of bad news.

I can hear it now: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter Chicago, O daughter America, O daughter of all lands, for lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord.”

I believe that, like today, humanity has long hoped and prayed for a kinder, peaceful world in which they and their loved ones could safely live and flourish.

But what happens when over time this sense of hope grows dim? We tire of waiting for something or someone to change. We get in the habit of settling and become complacent with the bad news. It’s easy to get cynical and discouraged and forget our memories that were filled with awe and wonder of wonderful things to come.

If Zechariah’s role was to encourage the overwhelmed and discouraged Israelites returning from exile to be comforted and hopeful in their ability to rebuild their city, what is stopping us from being a modern-day Zechariah by rekindling our hopes, beginning with Advent?

The hope that comes to us from Advent is a hope that is beyond all other hopes. It isn’t just an anticipation of something to come but perhaps a deep concern about the gap between our sweet memories and longings and our hopes of today.

This Advent hope is the essential truth and expectation that God is working in our lives now, in our present moment. It is a promise to hold on to that what we hope for in God’s name is obtainable. It is a time to remember that the salvation God promised has already come, and it is good that we live in the hope of that salvation.

Holy Creator, do not let us settle for just the way things are but rather remind us how we must live in Advent hope each day, breathing in the awe and wonder of your promise of salvation. Amen.

Written by Cris Ohr, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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