The 6th day of Advent
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God’s Marginal People 112911
Today’s verses from Micah 4 remind me that both in the Old Testament and the New Testament God speaks to and God speaks through people and peoples that are severely marginalized.
During Advent, when we EXPECT Jesus to be in our lives and in our souls, we are reminded of his humble birth, his humble parents and village and the marginal nature of all those around him.
Joseph was a carpenter and so was Jesus, but I’ve been told that ‘carpenter’ really translates as ‘construction worker’. Jesus and Joseph might have worked their entire lives on the Roman show case city of Sepphoris, which lies about 8 miles from Nazareth.
Why would they travel 8 miles (on foot) to work? Because there was no work at home—they didn’t own or farm family lands, and the Romans may have paid more than the local work of being a seasonal, landless farm worker. Joseph and Jesus were at the bottom of the ladder as far as occupation, income and social status. They may have owned nothing except a pair of callused hands and a strong back.
Maybe I’m engaging in ‘class warfare’, but I prefer marginalized people, and it is the social class of my family background. I am comfortable with people who are thankful for Thanksgiving because the leftovers last a week or more, and one never knows where the daily bread will come from after that. I was raised to work and I raised my children the same way, but the big money, the big successes of this time in history do not flow to the marginalized.
It is very important that Jesus was poor and marginalized, yet used by God to bring God’s message to us all.
Pray for peace today,
1O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the air for food, the flesh of your faithful to the wild animals of the earth.
3They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them.
4We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us.
5How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealous wrath burn like fire?
6Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call on your name.
7For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.
8Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.
9Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.
10Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes.
11Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power preserve those doomed to die.
12Return sevenfold into the bosom of our neighbors the taunts with which they taunted you, O Lord!
13Then we your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
6In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away, and those whom I have afflicted. 7The lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion now and forevermore.
8And you, O tower of the flock, hill of daughter Zion, to you it shall come, the former dominion shall come, the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem. 9Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pangs have seized you like a woman in labor? 10Writhe and groan, O daughter Zion, like a woman in labor; for now you shall go forth from the city and camp in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the Lord will redeem you from the hands of your enemies. 11Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, “Let her be profaned, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.” 12But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor. 13Arise and thresh, O daughter Zion, for I will make your horn iron and your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples, and shall devote their gain to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.
18After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. 2He called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird, a haunt of every foul and hateful beast. 3For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxury.” 4Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues; 5for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed. 7As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so give her a like measure of torment and grief. Since in her heart she says, ‘I rule as a queen; I am no widow, and I will never see grief,’ 8therefore her plagues will come in a single day— pestilence and mourning and famine— and she will be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”
9And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; 10they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas, alas, the great city, Babylon, the mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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