Today was the second Sunday of Advent and the theme for our gathering was righteousness and justice. The Old Testament lectionary readings, Psalm 72 and Isaiah 11:1-10, both emphasized the reality that the coming King (and his kingdom) would be characterized by righteousness and justice. One of the primary Hebrew words used to describe righteousness in the Old Testament is tsaddiqim and I love the way Tim Keller defines the word: “the tsaddiqim are are men and women, boys and girls, who are willing to disadvantage themselves for the sake of others.”
In light of our texts and this understanding of righteousness, we raised three important questions for self and communal awareness:
- Are We People Who Live Righteously and Seek Justice?
- Are We People Who Protect the Poor and the Needy?
- Are We People Who Recognize That Even Our Best Human Efforts Will Never Be Enough?
Reflecting this week upon both the lectionary texts and the life and impact of Nelson Mandela, I have appreciated the throughtful perspective of Gideon Strauss, senior fellow of the Center for Public Justice and the executive director of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. A South African by birth, he was a conscientious objector against military service under apartheid and an interpreter for South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In a brilliant piece in Christianity Today, Gideon tied together the themes of righteousness, justice, our part and God’s part as we await the coming kingdom:
“And so, much as we may honor and learn from Nelson Mandela, and resolve to live in the light of Isaiah 58, so must we also live in the light of Isaiah 60, and its sobering but hopeful revelation that in the end, all will be well, although not ultimately because of the work of human hands, but because of the outworking of the reign of God in Christ and through the Spirit—toward which the work of a Nelson Mandela is indeed a signpost.”
Where are you seeing signposts of righteousness and justice? How is God inviting you to join in?
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Great Are You, Lord (All Sons and Daughters)
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Aaron Shust version)
- Scripture Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
- The Jesse Tree
- Jesus Messiah (Chris Tomlin)
- Announcements and Offering
- Advent Conspiracy Video
- Message (Righteousness and Justice)
- Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus (Daniel Renstrom version)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.