Featured Resource: Longing for the Kingdom
"Advent" (from the Latin word for "arrival") is the season where we focus on Jesus' coming into the world. In one sense, it's a season of celebration, because Jesus did come into the world and begin his kingdom 2000 years ago. But in another, it's a season of longing, because the kingdom isn't fully here yet.
Some of us find it easy to celebrate in this season: the lights, the presents, the time with family. Others, maybe due to loss or hardship, find ourselves longing for something better. Wherever we are, we have the comfort of knowing that God meets us with the joy of a newborn child and the promise of a better world to come.
ADVENT DEVOTIONAL: LONGING FOR THE KINGDOM
This year, we have an Advent devotional written by 24 members of Soma, across her three congregations. Under the title "Longing for the Kingdom," each week's texts are built around the sermons we'll be preaching.
Don't take our word for it. Take Tim Chester's: "The reason I picked this [ebook] in particular is that does something nothing else I know of does. There are a number of books that talk about a Christian approach to the arts, but Filling Blank Spaces gives some great ideas and practical advice on incorporating the arts into the life of the church."
If you're still on the fence about whether you should explore these ebooks, take a look at this fine review of each from Benjamin Vrbicek.
In today’s excerpt, Dorothy Sayers ponders the way that average Christians have made a less-than-stellar impression of Christianity on the world at large by, as she writes elsewhere, “efficiently paring the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying him ‘meek and mild,’ and recommending him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies” (14). What we need, she avers, is not to hide or change or camouflage or deny our common tenants, but to live them out in the full drama—the “terrifying” drama—of God’s magnificent story.
It was January 22, 1984. If you were old enough to stay up and watch Super Bowl XVIII, you may remember the moment. During a third quarter commercial break, Apple aired a blockbuster advertisement, promoting the release of the first Macintosh computer. If you weren’t around or old enough to stay up that late in the early eighties, check out the ad on YouTube. The commercial, titled “1984,” features hundreds of skinheads watching a video projection. On the huge screen, a Big Brother figure extolls the virtues of censorship. Then suddenly, a blonde heroine runs defiantly towards the front of the room. The athletic woman twirls and hurls the sledge hammer she’s carrying at the image. It shatters the screen.
Symbolically, she was liberating everyone from the conformity of technology groupthink. Or maybe from Microsoft, I’m not sure.
Whether or not you’re a Steve Jobs fan, you’ve got to give him his props. He was a master showman who could mark a moment in memorable ways. If there was something new happening at Apple, Jobs knew how to make it special. He’d grab global attention and incite excitement around any product launch.
I thought about this today as I read Isaiah 9:6-7.
As we prepare our hearts to meet the risen and living Christ this Advent season with gladness, anticipation, and longing, we find this meditation on the “marvel of the Incarnation” from Gregory Nazianzen particularly rich and filling. We hope this lends itself to a blessed beginning of your Advent season.