First Sunday of Advent: Isaiah leads the way

If you could see the journey whole you might not undertake it;
might never dare to take the first step that propels you
from the place you have known to the place you know not.
But Advent messengers lead the way, heralds of Christ's coming.
This first Sunday on the journey, we follow a prophet...Isaiah.
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.  
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together. {Isaiah 40:3-5}

Writing to a people in exile, the prophet Isaiah promises a pathway that leads to redemption & return.  The transformation of creation will envelop all people and all communities. Our interior landscapes will be utterly changed and a road will appear-- a way for the redeeming, restoring God.  Are you ready?

In Advent we expectantly wait for the One who has already come.
We anticipate the promised justice of God’s new world, yet we praise God who raised the “righteous branch” to rule with justice and righteousness.
We hope for the restoration of the afflicted, the tormented, and the grieving, yet we delight that healing has come in Christ.
We long for the beating of swords into plowshares, yet we rejoice that the Prince of Peace has appeared.
We yearn for the barren deserts of our inner cities to flourish, yet we laud the desert Rose that has bloomed.
We dream of the land where lions and lambs live in harmony, yet we acclaim the child born to lead us into the promised land.

Shepherds Detail 11 © 2016 John August Swanson; Companion to the Book of Common Worship ; Una and the Lion by Briton Riviere