[#pictureAdvent] December 7: FAITHFUL

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By Rev. Jeana Martin
Senior Pastor, Wesley UMC
Harlingen, Texas

First, read Psalm 85:8-13

The act of speaking is powerful. Our words can be used to speak comfort and encouragement and they can be used to hurt or wound another. Sometimes we forget the power of our words. We live in a time when words are incredibly important and the words we hear our leaders say are often not words of peace. 

In today’s Psalm, the psalmist asks to hear of God’s peace and reminds us God will speak peace to those who are faithful and willing to listen. We often get distracted by the barrage of words thrown at us and, at times, we are unable to hear God over all the other voices competing for our attention.

God will speak peace to God’s people. In this text we read of God’s faithfulness in speaking peace to the people and we also read that it takes faithful people who are willing to listen and be open to receiving God’s words of peace. We read that steadfast, unending love will meet faithfulness and that righteousness and peace will kiss! Faithfulness with spring up from the ground and righteousness will look down from the sky! 

There is playfulness in these images! Unending love and faithfulness will meet and become friends like two kids at a city park might meet. And righteousness and peace will share a kiss like a newlywed couple at the end of their wedding.

So, not only will we hear peace but we will also see signs of God’s faithfulness all around us!! From the ground to the sky, there will be evidence of these things! That is one of the beautiful, mysterious invitations of Advent: to be open to what God is doing and to be faithful in approaching each day with the expectation that God will show us signs of God’s peace breaking into the world.

If we are faithful in listening and looking, these signs of peace and love and righteousness will be heard and seen! In addition to openness to what God is doing, Advent gives a secondary invitation to be faithful in our waiting just as God is faithful in showing up!

Prayer: God, speak to us once again of your peace and help us be open to hearing you! Teach us to recognize your presence in this world as we wait for Jesus Christ. Help us grow in relationship to you and to one another. Silence those voices in our lives that shout division. May your voice be the one we listen and respond to. Thank you for your faithfulness to us and for the invitation to be faithful to you. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions

1. What distracts you from hearing God?

2. What spiritual disciplines are you cultivating in your daily life that will help you see and hear signs of God’s peace in the world?

3. How might your words speak God’s peace into the life of someone else today?