Ecclesiastes recognizes the frequent mismatch between the way things are and the way things ought to be: the faithful life does not always assure us of good fortune. Even in the midst of difficulty and injustice, this book encourages us to see the beauty and joy around us. And through it all, we wait in hope for the one who will make all things new.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ “And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'” Revelation 21:3-5 NASB
“Advent looks at Jesus’ arrival and sees the approaching liberation from Sin and Death. Advent aches for Christmas because Easter is breathtaking. Advent represents the longing for God’s intervention 2000 years ago, but it also represents our longing for God’s intervention now.“
“Churches must acknowledge that there will always be wolves hunting among the faithful sheep, but they are not hopelessly resigned to this fact. They are called to boldly declare their pursuit of faithful teaching and goodness. Holding to the faith and living in goodness function as a purging agent for the church. The pursuit of Jesus shines a light into the darkness of evil, even when that evil is in the church.”
“The antichrists, who deny Jesus’ humanity and deny God’s love, do not love others. The love of God is self-giving and communal, wanting the best for humanity: life through Jesus (1 John 4:9-10). The truth of who Jesus is comes through divine anointing (1 John 2:20, 24-27). The genuine believers who have remained in community have this anointing; they know who Jesus is and are reminded to let this truth live in them.”
“We are meant to be a corporate, physical manifestation of God’s presence on earth, for both the benefit of the world and for our own flourishing. Good news requires that we examine Jesus in light of the past year and allow the Holy Spirit to bring discernment to our communities. We will be changed through this process; we should not expect to be the same people we were a year ago. By meeting together, hearing Scripture, and proclaiming Jesus we can begin to see a path forward. We will have church after the pandemic, but it will never be the same.”
“My predominantly white, suburban, American Christian context often seems unaware of how we’ve adopted the cultural values of status and power. James’ call for the church to be an equal community of brothers and sisters requires us to elevate those on the margins. We must have the self-awareness to see where we absorb status and power into our lives and the courage to explicitly reverse this absorption. This requires listening and allowing the marginalized to teach us.“
“In context, Hebrews is a message of Christian endurance, a willingness to remain separate from the surrounding cultures and persist faithfully in the truth. Hebrews guides Christian communities toward perseverance by reminding them of the superiority of Jesus. Jesus’ life is an example of faithfulness that meets with extreme resistance, to the point of death, and yet he is undeterred. He is their example even though they have not yet experienced the same level of hostility. They follow his path.“