[#pictureAdvent] December 11: TREE

08 Dec 10 Water-01.jpg

ByJohn Renfroe, Deacon
Messiah Lutheran Church
Cape Coral, Florida

First, read Isaiah 61:1-4

Oppression and mourning has as much of a grip on us today as it did in Zion’s city some two thousand years ago. As God’s people, it is easy to imagine horrible oppressive situations. Those atrocious predators, thieves, even elected leaders. It’s hard to be oaks of righteousness when we are victims of such oppression. It is even harder to be oaks of righteousness when we are unwittingly the oppressor. 

If we are honest with ourselves, we will discover times that we have been both the victim and the oppressor. Those times that we used our power/influence to put others down so that we look better, or those times that we had an opportunity to say something against an injustice but remained silent instead. We mourn our losses. Yet, we may cause others to mourn because of the things we say or do.

This passage reminds us today that we are sent by God to bring good news to the oppressed, to comfort those who mourn, and God calls us to be oaks of righteousness. The good news is that we also receive the good news that we are forgiven, comforted and empowered to proclaim the Kingdom of God which is at hand.

We are oaks of righteousness when we show love to our neighbor. Our witness is like an oak tree that stands strong in the midst of stormy times.

Prayer: Holy God, thank you for the gift of your Son. As we pattern our lives, after Jesus, may we be reminded of your loving grace as we travel through this advent season. Come, Oh holy Jesus.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Who has been as an oak of righteousness in your life?
  2. In times of mourning or oppression, who has looked to you to be an oak of righteousness for them?
  3. How has God’s grace been in your life during times of oppression and mourning?