Advent Daybook, 7: Remaining In Zion

An Advent daybook for these 24 days of prayerful expectation. Join me, won't you?

For an introduction read this post: Advent Daybook explained. You can see previous Advent daybook 2018 posts here.

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


Look: Shema, Meg Hitchcock

Meg Hitchcock , Shema  - Letters cut from the Koran, 2014 ( source )   Deuteronomy 6:4ff.: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.”   [h/t:  Art & Theology  blog]

Meg Hitchcock, Shema - Letters cut from the Koran, 2014 (source)

Deuteronomy 6:4ff.: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.”

[h/t: Art & Theology blog]


Listen: "Mt. Zion” from Live At Home, Cageless Birds (feat. Jonathan David Helser) (lyrics)

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I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”
*
”In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.”
*
”For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
*
”And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
— Psalm 116:16-117:2, Isaiah 4:2-6, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 & Luke 21:5-9 (ESV)

Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year C). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 1).


Pray:

“Prayer and poetry are the closest of kin. In poetry we say it; in prayer we become what we say.” - Eugene Peterson

On Saturdays through Advent, we’ll practice speaking the realities and mysteries of our world in the words of poets. Read the poem below slowly and out loud, if possible. Don’t worry about getting every nuance; notice the image or phrase that most captures your attention and allow those words to form into prayerful thoughts.

The lamps are burning in the synagogue,
in the houses of study, in dark alleys. . .”
This should be the place.
This is the way
the guide-book describes it. Excuse me, sir,
can you tell me
where Eli lives, Eli the katzev
slaughterer of cattle and poultry?
One of my ancestors.
Reb Haskel? Reb Shimin? My grandfathers.

This is the discipline that withstood the siege
of every Jew;
these are the prayer-shawls that have proved
stronger than armor.

Let us begin then humbly. Not by asking:
Who is This you pray to? Name Him;
define Him. For the answer is:
we do not name Him.
Once out of a savage fear, perhaps;
now out of knowledge—of our ignorance.

Begin then humbly. Not by asking:
shall I live forever?
Hear again the dear dead greeting me gladly
as they used to
when we were all among the living?
For the answer is:
if you think we differ from all His other creatures,
say only if you like with the Pharisees, our teachers,
those who do not believe in an eternal life
will not have it.

In the morning I arise and match again
my plans against my cash.
I wonder now if the long morning-prayers
were an utter waste of an hour
weighing, as they do, hopes and anguish,
and sending the believer out into the street
with the sweet taste of the prayers on his lips.

How good to stop
and look out upon eternity a while;
and daily
in the morning, afternoon, and evening
be at ease in Zion.
— from Inscriptions, 16: "The lamps are burning in the synagogue", Charles Reznikoff via poetryfoundation.org

Do:

6.joanna-kosinska-437470-unsplash.jpg

Stargaze

Spend 10 minutes quietly observing the night sky.

“Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.” (Is. 4:5)

Today, remember the promise of God to our forefather Abraham that his children would number more than the stars in the sky. Spend at least ten minutes outside tonight (hopefully there’ll be a clear sky!) and thank God for keeping His promises. Pray for our Jewish friends and neighbors. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.


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(See all Advent Daybook posts from 2017 here.)