OWAAT December 10: Hope and Thankfulness in the Midst of Waiting for Jesus

As we continue our wait for Jesus, we enter into week two of Advent, either love or hope (depending on your tradition), and continuing through Psalms 107-113 in our daily readings. As with most of our weeks in the Psalms, each one brings us new and fascinating gifts to our faith life. Psalm 107 begins the week in thankfulness. What is it like for you to have hope and be thankful in the midst of waiting for Jesus?

Think:

Daily Bible readings:

December 10 – Psalm 107
December 11 – Psalm 108
December 12 – Psalm 109
December 13 – Psalm 110
December 14 – Psalm 111
December 15 – Psalm 112
December 16 – Psalm 113

Walter Brueggemann reminds us, “The impetus for life with YHWH in ancient Israel is most characteristically thanks. For that reason, Israel endlessly recited the inventory of acts of divine fidelity and probed for the right response in gratitude.” (p.489) However, as we’re used to by now, while the Psalms may be divided into books, they’re not grouped numerically by theme – Psalm 109 comes along with its appeal toward God’s vengeance. In that regard, the Psalms mirror human life as we know it, our life journeys not to easily plotted into discernible patterns.

Pray:

As we continue our December prayer practice of chanting the Psalms, consider how your relationship with the Psalms. Has it changed since we have begun chanting them?

Act:

Our Advent waiting may be contemplative without necessarily being passive. Dennis Jacobsen reminds us to spend some time finding our self-interest before we work to organize people and bring about societal change, and to consider the roles of community and hope in that self-interest. “Authentic self-interest has to do with the self that is to be among others. The authentic self is discovered in the life that is lived among others – in community, in the public arena. … Any discussion of self-interest presumes both a healthy sense of the self and a sense of hope.” (p. 98-99)

What is your self-interest? What most concerns or angers you? What are your deepest dreams? Spend some time in hope as you wait, figuring this out, so you can act more powerfully out of your own self-interest.

Check the Think! Pray! Act! calendar for things to do.

Find your local faith- or congregation-based community organizing network/organization and participate in their work and actions. Here are links to the major faith-based community organizing networks and their local affiliate organizations:

DART – Direct Action and Research Training Center

Gamaliel

IAF – Industrial Areas Foundation

IVP – InterValley Project

PICO – People Improving Communities through Organizing

What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.

References:
Bourgeault, Cynthia. Chanting the Psalms: A Practical Guide. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 2006.

Brueggemann, Walter, and William H. Bellinger Jr. Psalms. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Jacobsen, Dennis A. Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing, 2nd Edition. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2017.

United Methodist Communications. “What Do the Candles in the Advent Wreath Mean?” The United Methodist Church, n.d. http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/what-do-the-candles-in-our-advent-wreath-mean.

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