Saturday, December 04, 2021

Advent readings 2021 : Day 7

In which the exiles come to (a) completion


Genesis 2:1-4

Then the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their array. And God completed on the seventh day the task He had done, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the task He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, for on it He had ceased from all His task that He had created to do. This is the tale of the heavens and the earth when they were created.


Daniel 9:1-3, 20-23

In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus from the seed of Media, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans, in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, came to understand in the books the number of years that according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet were to fulfil the devastation of Jerusalem—seventy years. And I turned to the Master God to petition in prayer and supplication, in fasting and sackcloth and ashes…

I was still speaking and praying and confessing…when the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision before, glided down in flight, reaching me at the hour of the evening offering. And he imparted understanding and spoke to me and said, “Daniel, now have I come out to convey wisdom to you. At the beginning of your supplication the word was issued and I have come to tell you that you are beloved…”


The opening verses of Genesis 2 form a pivot and a bridge between the first origins story, focused on Jerusalem and her destruction and restoration, and a second origins story, focused on Babylon and her role in the shaping of God’s people. Each story converges on this point, at the completion of God’s task, on the seventh day or seventh decade, from opposite directions. And this cessation is hallowed, made holy, just as the task of exile is also a holy activity. It is hallowed, by the longing of God’s people for God, and of God for God’s people, coming together; and it happens in time, according to the very fabric and rhythms of the cosmos God has established.

Advent is standing on the bridge that joins heaven and earth, Jerusalem and Babylon, where the unseen is rendered visible, and what was once separated is joined together.


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


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