Thursday, December 02, 2021

Advent readings 2021 : Day 5


In which the exiles exult in God’s blessing for all peoples


Genesis 1:20-23

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with the swarm of living creatures and let fowl fly over the earth across the vault of the heavens.” And God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that crawls, which the water had swarmed forth of each kind, and the winged fowl of each kind, and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas and let the fowl multiply in the earth.” And it was evening and it was morning, fifth day.


Isaiah 54:1-5, 9

Sing gladly, O barren one who has not given birth, burst out in glad song, exult, who has not been in labor, for the desolate one’s children number more than the children of the one with a husband. Spread wide the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your dwelling place stretch out—do not stint. Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your tent pegs. For to the north and the south you shall burst forth, and your seed shall take hold of nations and shall settle desolate towns. Do not fear, for you shall not be shamed, and you shall not be disgraced, for you shall not be dishonored. For the shame of your youth you shall forget, and the dishonor of your widowhood you shall no longer recall. For he who takes you to bed is your Maker, the LORD of Armies is His name, and your redeemer is Israel’s Holy One.

“For as Noah’s waters is this to Me, as I vowed not to let Noah’s waters go over the earth again, so have I vowed not to be furious with you nor to rebuke you.


In biblical imagery, the fish of the sea represent the nations of the earth; the sea monsters, gods, beings we might know as angels or demons, created by God and appointed to guard over nations; the fowl who fly over the earth, messengers from God, guardian angels. Though we shall see, as this great myth unfolds, that some such beings rebel against God, here God is reestablishing an order in which even former enemies are blessed. An order within which there can be a release of blessing for God’s people, in no way restricted to God’s people.

As we hear of wars and rumours of wars and as we see the plight of displaced peoples looking for asylum—for a welcome and a place to build a new life, in which their family can flourish and by which they can contribute to the flourishing of their new neighbours—let us lift to God all those in danger, who yet hope for blessing.

May we speak out in support of angels who have been labelled demons.

Biblical texts: Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary


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