2Sm 7:1-5; 8b -12; 14a; 16 Rom 16: 25-27 Lk 1:26-38
4th Sunday in Advent
Imagine this scene. You’re watching one of the Presidental debates – doesn’t matter which Party. The facilitator of the debate asks a tough question about a controversial subject. There’s a moment of silence as each candidate collects his or her thoughts. And then one of the candidtates speaks: “I spoke with God’s prophet about this issue the other day, and according to him (her) God said…….”
How would that make you feel? What would you think? My hunch is that most of us would find such a response a bit creepy. Alarming, perhaps. It’s not that we don’t want our elected representatives to have a deep spiritual life or a solid set of moral convictions. Yet there’s a sense of absolute certainty that one has figured out what God wants in that statement which would probably strike us as a bit presumptuous. And quite likely dangerous. What if, upon taking the oath of office, the President -elect feels the same certainty that it’s time to drop nuclear bombs upon Brazil?
In this Sunday’s first reading King David is thinking about building a Temple in Jerusalem for God and looks to his adviser, the prophet Nathan, for advice. In response, “Nathan answered the King; Go, do whatever you have in mind, for the LORD is with you.” Here’s the catch – turns out that Nathan’s first sense was wrong. “That night” the LORD told Nathan to tell David that it will not be his task to build the Temple.
There are a couple of insights I’m taking away from this reading. One, is a lesson in humility and patience. If even a great king and a holy prophet can misunderstand God sometimes, then certainly I can. Second, is a lesson in prayer. Don’t leave God out of the discernment process. Give the Spirit the time and space the Spirit needs to speak. And when she does speak – Listen!
Humility. Patience. Prayerfulness. As we enter into our final approach to Christmas, which one of those gifts do you especially need? Which one are you most able to share with others?
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
(I am available to lead retreats, workshops and days of prayer. You can contact me at:email@example.com)