River City Church - Smyrna, GA

Advent Week 1 - Hope and Waiting

November 29, 2020

Josh shares a message from Isaiah 64 for the first week of Advent -- the week whose theme is hope. Isaiah is crying out to God and is tired of waiting. Where are you, God? We need you! Do the things you did before. But God is doing a deeper work in Isaiah and the people of Israel. Many of us today feel like Isaiah did then. And the good news is that the waiting we're experiencing isn't empty waiting. The Advent season helps remind us that something is coming. We expectantly wait for the new things God wants to do in and through Christ in us. Isaiah 64:1-9.

Josh shared two quotes from Patricia de Kong today: 

1) Her comment on Bonhoeffer: "What Bonhoeffer discovered was that the hiddenness of God is not a cloak of humility temporarily covering an awesome, powerful glory (a kind of Clark Kent/Superman act), but rather is a reflection of the divine character, a divine determination to relate to the world through the vulnerable path of non-coercive love and suffering service rather than through domination and force. God's refusal to replicate a Red Sea-type deliverance does not mean that God has abandoned Israel (or the church). 

"Our hope does not rely on God's acting today in the same ways God acted in the ancient stories, but it does rely on God's being the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow -- a God who hears our cries, a God who does not abandon us, a God who will finally redeem all that is lost in a new heaven and new earth (Isaiah 65:17). The tradition of biblical lament does not invoke the past as nostalgia, nor does it dismiss the present in despair; rather, it draws on the collective memories of God's people as a source of hope for the future."  

2) "I recall a comment that our country has changed over the past years from one that wanted to be good to one that wants to feel good. We see some of this desire every Christmas season as people run from store to store and shopping mall to shopping mall, searching for the things that will bring them and their families some sort of fulfillment and happiness. Peace, the kind of peace that the world is hungering for, will not come from trying to fill ourselves up with material things. We try to stem our hurt and pride by running away from pain and caring only about what is ours. We cannot create peace through selfishness, but by opening ourselves to hope. Hope is what is left when your worst fears have been realized and you are no longer optimistic about the future. Hope is what comes with a broken heart willing to be mended."  

The song that Josh shared at the end of service was "Voice of God" by Dante Bowe. You can see the video of that song here: https://youtu.be/hP5u4BUcq_U

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