Advent 2018 – Day Eleven – Hard road to travel
Our song today is A hard road to travel by Jimmy Cliff.
My mind’s made up, I’ll never stop
My faith will see, see me through
Although our path can sometimes seem hard we can rely on the fact that God is with. Our Psalm today stresses this.
Psalm 85 is very relevant to the season of Advent. It being jam packed full of promise in a time of waiting and great uncertainty.
The psalmist first calls us to remember what God has done for us and resonates with Mark’s telling of the story of John the Baptists proclamation of the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
In the second part the psalmist asks God to speak peace to his people, those who are faithful in their turning to God. The response to this request is a proclamation of salvation to those who “fear” the Lord. Those who “fear” God are not full of dread of God but are those who are faithful and believe the promises of God.
The “way of the Lord” is being made ready the path is being made straight. The psalmist writes beautiful words which invite us to walk that path and to experience the realities which accompany God on the way. We find that love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace meet, kiss, spring up from below and look down from above.
On this path we experience increased faithfulness and righteousness as God’s people.
As the psalm ends we see the footprints of God’s path. God is walking on this path with righteousness leading the way. It is loud call which invites us to continue on our journey of Advent.
From our Advent Workshops
Thoughts on – PSALM 85, 1 – 2 and 8 – 13 – Diana Holt
Unfailing Love and Truth have met together; Righteousness and Peace have kissed!
What wonderful words, from Psalm 85! God’s love and the truth of his Word are inseparable; a state of righteousness and the experience of his Peace are intertwined. From reverence to restoration.
The Psalmist has cried out for God’s intervention in the sinful world he sees around him. Surely all of us have done this – we weep to see a world so different from the one God created. And then, he senses God’s gracious response, and his words change from despair to glorious hope.
God speaks peace, he says, and implores the people not to return to their foolish ways. The more we seek God and obey him, the more we shall see everything else taken care of by God – we will see His blessings pour down upon the earth, his righteousness smile down on us, and we will know his peace in our hearts.
Yes, the world is broken. Yes, there is suffering and wickedness. Yes, we feel desperate and helpless, and we cry out – ‘Where are you, God?’
But then, do we listen for an answer? Perhaps if we did, we, like the Psalmist, would hear that still small voice saying ‘I have given you my Son to show you the way. You cannot change the world, my child – leave that to me. But follow the way of Jesus – live righteously, and I will give you peace.’
And the answer to ‘Where are you, God?’ The answer is ‘I am before you, behind you, at your side, and within you. I will never leave you – my saving presence will remain in your land’. Righteousness and peace have kissed.
Bible Passage – Psalm 85:1-2 New International Version – UK
You, Lord, showed favour to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.
I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants – but let them not turn to folly. Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.
Prayers and Reflection
Hymn: – “I want to walk with Jesus Christ”
“Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”
Let us pray together.
Think of the saying in order to understand context and meaning,
Feel the meaning of the saying with and in your heart,
Pray, using the saying, for yourself or others. With only a name and without explaining the reasons or pre-defining any answers.
Listen for God’s voice in the quiet of your prayers.
Pray using your own prayers or one of those which have been prepared below.
Lord God, this day and every day help me to walk in the steps you have prepared for me. Amen.
Loving God, I praise you that your loving-kindness and tender mercies are new every morning. Though I often wander from your path you continually draw me back into your presence by your love and grace. Amen.
As we continue on your pathway, this Advent season, may we experience that wonder of righteousness and peace as they kiss the world in the coming of our Saviour Jesus.
As the hymn writer has said for us you kissed a guilty world with love.
Help us today to see that we do truly step in the pathway that you have prepared for us and which you walk with us. Lord, no matter how we feel help us to skip and dance in that assurance of your steadfast and everpresent love. Amen.