- Date: November 27, 2022
- Bible Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-7; 2:1-4; 3:[3b-6], 17-19
- Free Resource: Prayer Cards (Youth, NL)
- Unit Theme (November 27—December 18): Faith in God’s Promises
- The Point: Though waiting can be difficult, God always hears our prayers and responds.
Advent is a season of waiting, which is also what God told the prophet Habakkuk to do in the face of injustice. What are you waiting for?
This week marks the beginning of Advent, a season of waiting. So, it makes sense to begin with a Bible passage on waiting. We are continuing in the Hebrew Prophets, now moving to the lesser-known Book of Habakkuk. We are continuing, but we are also moving from the theme of God’s Plan for Peace to Faith in God’s Promises.
A Season of Waiting
Advent is a season when we focus on waiting. We remember the people of Israel waiting for the Messiah God promised them. We ourselves are waiting for the celebration of Christmas. And, we are waiting with the communion of saints for the coming of Christ in glory, ushering in God’s kingdom in its fullness. [Though, let’s be honest. Most of the people in our congregations are just waiting for Christmas.]
In former times, the promise of God seemed to combine the promises of the advent of the Messiah with the Day of Judgment. God’s chosen leader would appear to judge the nations and usher in a period of shalom and justice for all. In the writings of the New Testament, we learn that these two events are separated by an unknown period of time. Jesus, God enfleshed, came over 2,000 years ago, and the Day of Judgment is yet to come. So, this month, we remember those who waited for the one as we ourselves await the other.
Waiting for Justice
The prophet Habakkuk looked around his community and saw nothing but injustice and violence. He knew about God’s plan for peace, God’s will that all will live in peace and justice. But, from his perspective, God wasn’t doing anything. Nothing was changing, things perhaps were even getting worse. Did God forget the promise? Did God decide not to act?
Habakkuk’s complaint can just as easily be our own. Our world is not much better than his. Injustice reigns throughout the world. Those who are vulnerable are mistreated. Those who are sick are denied health care. Those who are different are oppressed. Where is God in all of this? Why is there so much evil in the world?
God Is Listening
God responded to Habakkuk:
I haven’t forgotten. That time will still come. For now, you can only wait. Waiting is hard. Waiting sucks. But waiting is a part of faith.
We learn from the writer of Hebrews:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1
Faith isn’t about what we see and experience. It’s about looking toward a promised future and trusting that it’s coming, no matter how long it takes. Faith requires waiting. And, faith requires action. We are, as many say, the hands and feet of Christ. God calls us to act against injustice right now.
What are you waiting for? The kingdom of God? Healing for yourself or others? Good news, or bad? What are your faith formation participants waiting for? Ask them! Give yourself and those in your ministry time to search their minds and hearts and put what they are waiting for into words.
-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
Note: this post has been adapted from a blog post published for December 2, 2018.
During the main Narrative Lectionary year (this year: September 11 to May 28), we provide a free resource download from one of our products to help you in your faith formation ministry. This week, download a free activity “Prayer Cards” a reflective activity from our Living the Word: Youth (NL) curriculum. This activity can be used intergenerationally or with most age groups individually.
2022-2023 Faith Formation Resources
Advent has begun, and that means that our NL and RCL Fall Quarters are finished. Do you have everything you need for your faith formation ministries? Order Winter and Spring lessons of our Narrative Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary resources, or one of our Learning Together units! You can download the lessons as soon as your payment is processed.
At Spirit & Truth Publishing, we might just have exactly what you are looking for:
- Resource for the Revised Common Lectionary (intergenerational classroom)
- Resources for the Narrative Lectionary (products for all ages)
- Learning Together: Five-lesson topical units for VBS, Sunday school, children, and intergenerational classes.
- Cross+Generational Confirmation
- Worship and Liturgy Education