Advent 2011: 3.2 — Joy in Returning Home

Throughout this Advent season, my goal is to take each of the four Lectionary readings for each week and write a meditation about each one. Largely my motivation for this is simply that I love the season of Advent, yet there’s also a little bit of hoping that by blogging through this season, I can use it as a means to grieve the recent passing of my Dad.

Today, Stephanie submits an entry.

WEEK 3: A reading (recited by Emily) from the Psalms (chapter 126, NIV2011)

Israel has returned home. Again. Not by their own effort or will, but by God’s grace and purpose. Israel had turned away and been taken captive by the desires of their flesh. From that place of sin, they wept out of their desire for closeness with their God. They showed their sorrow for transgressing — for breaking the relationship — against YHWH.

We too, turn from God to pursue the desires of our flesh, thus breaking our relationship with Father God. As we turn and chase after the sin that He warns us about–the sin that will hurt us– we drift further from the voice of God who is constant and faithful. God’s voice of love and of discipline grow more and more faint as we continue down the path of sin. Notice that God doesn’t change. He doesn’t stop speaking. We are the ones who have left His presence and thus are no longer in the range of His voice. After all, if we’re living in disobedience, isn’t it more comfortable that we can’t hear the Father’s rebuke?

But then, our sin catches up with us, and as we look upon ourselves, we see the chains that we have allowed to entangle us. We find ourselves captured. Upon coming to our senses, we long for the voice and comfort and closeness of Father God again. We weep with sorrow for breaking our relationship with a faithful and loving Father. We lose our pride, and we humble our hearts with repentance — a turning to God. We invite Him, again, to be Lord of our whole self again. To come into our messy lives with the filth that has built up and stained our hearts. And we ask for His blood that washes away all our sins and makes us clean…that makes us righteous again–on right terms face to face with God and right living side by side with God.

And because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy brings us back to Zion. To His holy mountain. To His presence. And our mouths our filled with laughter!

FREEDOM!!!!

No more chains of captivity bringing us down! No more distance from the Father! No more silence!

Not because of what we have done, but because of who our Father is!

Our tongues are filled with songs of joy!!

People start talking about the great things God has done for us, and you know what? It’s true!! He has done great things for us! Receiving us back, loving us, forgiving us, redeeming us! Yes! those are great things, and yes! He has done it for us! Praise Him!

Our fortune of sonship has been restored! The tears of yesterday have been turned into songs of joy! The sacrifice and humility it took to turn back to God — to repent — has been rewarded with the honor of being brought back into His presence! This is true life! This is something to sing and laugh and praise God for!

Shout, laugh, and sing for JOY!!!

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