…and we are filled with joy (Psalm 126)." You'd almost think that hundreds of years ago, when someone drew up the three year cycle of lectionary scripture readings, someone knew that on Sunday, December 14, 2008, the Third Sunday of Advent, Emmanuel Mennonite Church would be moving into a new sanctuary in a new part of the metroplex, and would need Bible passages that speak to the search process that had just concluded, and to the opportunities which lie ahead. Because the two Old Testament passages were almost spooky in their pertinence to our past and our presence:
1 When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.
And Isaiah 61: 3b-4
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
For the applications of these passages to our new situation, check out that Sunday's messsage at Download Advent 3-08
Pastor Mathew Swora