By: Michelle Higgins
Advent for Truth’s Table is a time for hearing the witness and invitation of the Holy Spirit, to trust and obey, to watch and pray. This season at the table we are meditating on God’s Truth, sharing true stories of hope and praying together for Black women around the world.
By God’s renewing mercies, we are reminded this season that the life and work of Jesus speaks to both our history and our future. The Lord is near to us in our weary years and our silent tears. His promise of justice and restoration is sure. While we know the bleakness of waiting, the Holy Spirit breathes into us the beauty of hope;
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. Isaiah 40
This is God’s message to his children and the world: that every valley will be exalted, every hill made low, and his glory will be revealed before all living things. The King is coming, let earth prepare him room. This good news brings a radical, transformative change to the way we live every day, and to the way we view and respond to everything happening in the world.
Dr. King preached about Jesus’ words to Nicodemus: “Jesus looked at him and said, "Nicodemus, you must be born again." He said, in other words, "Your whole structure must be changed."
Mary’s entire life was turned upside down when she was visited by an angel. God’s disrupting truth placed her in a new and uncomfortable social position. But she knew it was true, she trusted God’s word, and in her pondering she was comforted in ways she might have otherwise never known.
Paul went from a delusional racist murderer to servant and “chief wrecka” of his kindred when he encountered the glory of Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus Christ knocks us off our high horses, blinding us to our own foolishness until we see only Him. Jesus’ entrance as a humble King did not diminish the foretelling of the great glory that is to come.
He will give His Justice to the weak. He will fill the hungry with good things, he will bring oppressors down from their thrones. The marginalized will know provision. The last shall be first. God’s is a kingdom of everlasting peace and equity, and though he tarries, we wait with great hope. In our waiting he shows us his meekness, and in his promise he assures us of his boldness. The Lord is ever in control, and the King is coming.
Excerpt from recommended reading:
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Dr. Martin Luther King
This is where we are. Where do we go from here? First, we must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up amidst a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values. We must no longer be ashamed of being black. The job of arousing manhood within a people that have been taught for so many centuries that they are nobody is not easy….
If you will let me be a preacher just a little bit - One night, a juror came to Jesus and he wanted to know what he could do to be saved. Jesus didn't get bogged down in the kind of isolated approach of what he shouldn't do. Jesus didn't say, "Now Nicodemus, you must stop lying." He didn't say, "Nicodemus, you must stop cheating if you are doing that." He didn't say, "Nicodemus, you must not commit adultery." He didn't say, "Nicodemus, now you must stop drinking liquor if you are doing that excessively." He said something altogether different, because Jesus realized something basic - that if a man will lie, he will steal. And if a man will steal, he will kill. So instead of just getting bogged down in one thing, Jesus looked at him and said, "Nicodemus, you must be born again."
He said, in other words, "Your whole structure must be changed."
A nation that will keep people in slavery will "thingify" them - make them things. Therefore they will exploit them, and poor people generally, economically. And a nation that will exploit economically will have to have foreign investments and everything else, and will have to use its military might to protect them. All of these problems are tied together. What I am saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, "America, you must be born again!"
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Songs for Worship and Meditation:
Scripture & Prayer: 1 Samuel 2. 1-10
Verse 10: It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. ‘He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.’