A Reading from the Psalms:
Pray that Jerusalem has peace: “Let those who love you have rest. Let there be peace on your walls; let there be rest on your fortifications.” For the sake of my family and friends, I say, “Peace be with you, Jerusalem.” For the sake of the Lord our God’s house I will pray for your good.
This is the Word of the Lord.
In ancient times, there were a collection of Psalms that the people of Israel would pray as they journeyed to Jerusalem for their yearly sacrifices. This particular Psalm is one of those. As the people of Israel would walk toward the Holy City they would pray these Psalms together. They would remember the goodness of God in times past while they yearned for an eternal King to come and rule over them with peace and rest.
For us, Advent is a bit like this ascension to Jerusalem. We remember that a new kind of King has been promised from time hence. The Prophets proclaimed that this King would come. And throughout Advent we march closer to this quiet cave in a small city. In that cave lies a newborn Baby—a new King—who himself is the gate to the new Jerusalem.
“I am the Way” that baby would later say. The way to life. The way to life lived to the full.
And, so, we march toward this New Jerusalem.
Advent is the season of waiting. But, our waiting is an active waiting. We call to memory the prophetic words of ages past. We dream prophetically about the King and His Kingdom to come. And, we walk excitedly toward that manger in that cave in that lowly city in the outskirts of Jerusalem.
And, when we arrive at the manger we find that the real work of faith has just begun. With fear and trembling, we work to bring about the fulfillment of this new Kingdom. We work the work of shalom. We work to make that which is crooked straight. We work so that that which is lost might be found. We welcome this new Kingdom, and work to bring it to it’s fulfilled state.
We ascend into the New Jerusalem, as the New Jerusalem descends upon the earth.
We work to bring the Kingdom to fulfillment, as the Kingdom comes in fulfillment.
One step at a time.