Scripture reading for today:

Isaiah 12:2-6, Amos 6:1-8, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Finding Hope

“Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself,
is my strength and my defence;
he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.”
(Isaiah 12:2-6)

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:15)

I hear truth in much of today’s reading, yet, if I am honest with myself, I doubt the words “I will trust and not be afraid.” I walk my neighbourhood and meet with my neighbours and am fully aware that there a lot of things going on in this world, my neighbours are experiencing the loss of jobs, ageing parents with dementia, are refugees trying to discover home, those beat up by the systems of power, poverty and pain – just to mention a few. In such bleak circumstances, I hear these words “God is my salvation, trust, and do not be afraid,” and realize I am living in a forest of entangled emotions.

The season of Advent is a space given to us to discover hope again, but how? How do I hope when so much seems so broken?

The season of Advent is a space given to us to discover hope again, but how? How do I hope when so much seems so broken? Click To Tweet

At the time of Jesus, Jews believed that a Messiah would come to usher in the Kingdom. To make the wrongs right, and free them from the hands of the oppressor. And they believed that this would happen at the end of the age. What Jesus is announcing throughout Mark’s gospel is that the Kingdom is being revealed now and that it is near, at hand, before the end of the age.

Like then, the kingdoms of this world are seemingly an impenetrable system of strong, rich, winner, attractive, talented. And it is demanding our allegiance.
Allegiance to bigger and better experiences.
Allegiance to a financial system, where I will have enough to consume what I want.
Allegiance to a worthiness-based-system of doing enough so you will be noticed.
Allegiance to the system of busy, where your worth is tied to what and how much you accomplish.
The kingdom of this world wages an endless campaign for our loyalty.
Luring us in with false promises.

Jesus ushers in a different Kingdom. One ruled by the crucified one – populated by the unclean, found in the unexpected and suffused with mercy rather than power. And when you see it something is made new. Perhaps a part of the world, perhaps a part of yourself. Something is made new when the empty promises of the world give way to the whimsy, and the true and the eternal in the world according to God.

When the light is dim, God is who I trust and He is where my hope is found. It is in Him that I take refuge. That however dark things get in this world we have a hope in a God that has the power and love to make all things new.

Thank you for reading the New Leaf Advent Reader, a collection of reflections from writers across Canada. If you are enjoying the reader, sign up to receive the readings in your inbox each day here: SIGN UP And please share this reflection with your friends and family who might also enjoy it.

photo credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia