Narrative Lectionary Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11
Free Resource: Prayer Stations (Cross+Gen Worship)
Advent Theme (December 3—December 24): God’s Presence Brings Life
Free food! Two words that are sure to get people moving (along with “free drinks”). We all like free stuff, though as we get older, we might be wary of the quality. But, in the proclamation in Isaiah 55, God is declaring “free food!” I feel confident that the quality will be just fine.
Abundance in Advent
We are moving now to the third Sunday in Advent (and maybe your last, depending on how you are scheduling the fun Advent 4 and Christmas Eve alignment). Advent is the time of expectant waiting for the Messiah, remembering the first advent and awaiting the second. This third Sunday is Gaudate (Latin for “Rejoice!”) Sunday in some traditions and may have a different colored candle. What would be better to rejoice in other than the abundance of God?
Abundance in the Kingdom
The proclamation in Isaiah 55 addresses the people of Judah exiled to Babylon. The prophet reminds the people that God has not abandoned them, that there will be a return to their land. But, I think it’s also reasonable for us to see the kingdom of God here. In our world, the discipline of economics is based on the principle of scarcity. There are just not enough resources to go around. However, in Isaiah 55:1-2, we see things are different in the kingdom of God. God has so much abundance (infinite in fact) that God simply just gives everything away. Free food, free drinks. Just come and eat.
Abundance of Love
When it comes down to it, God’s abundance is not just a function of God being an omnipotent creator, but it is who God really is. Love is such a central descriptor of who God is to us, that we can say “God is love.” The love God has for us is abundant, not scarce (again infinite). God’s love is abundant, and so therefore God provides for our needs. God’s love is abundant, and so therefore God forgives us when we stray. God’s love is abundant, and so therefore God never leaves us.
Seek the LORD
God is here, pursuing us. But, when we focus on scarcity, on what we want and do not have, on what we have and are afraid to lose, we cannot see God’s abundance. So, we must seek God. We must turn toward God and see that God has always been there. Seeking God does not cause God to love us; instead it opens us up to receive and experience that love.
One way to seek God is through prayer. Our free activity this week is a series of prayer stations that worshippers or other participants can move around to, considering and praying about different topics related to this passage. If mobility or logistics is an issue, then the questions can be read aloud and considered in small groups. Use the activity in whatever way it works for you. This activity was created originally for our Living the Word: Cross+Generational Worship resource.
For more great ideas on how to engage participants of all ages in the story of God’s love, check out our Living the Word series for elementary students, youth, adults, and intergenerational settings!
How will you proclaim God’s abundance this week?
-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
Image Copyright: ingridhs / 123RF Stock Photo