Lent & Advent

Advent 2021: A Season Of Healing And Hope – December 9

Jim Hopkins

December 7, 2021

Our God Reigns

Chuck Johnston
(Chuck has attended Lakeshore since shortly after he moved to Oakland in the 1990’s. Chuck’s story: “I read about the church when it was expelled from the local “region” of American Baptist Churches for its decision to be welcoming to the LGBTQ community. I thought, ‘If I ever move to Oakland, I’m going to visit that church first.’ Having been advised to leave an ABC church, myself, some years prior, I was very nervous as I walked through the front doors. I had never heard of a Baptist Church that welcomed LGBTQ people. But soon several people made me feel right at home. I was even invited to join the choir! I felt very welcome indeed. I have loved Jesus since Jr. High School and I am so happy to have the opportunity to share God’s Word with you this Advent. Peace be with you!”)

7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation,  who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,  together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see  the return of the Lord to Zion. 9 Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.

10 The Lord has bared his holy arm  before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see  the salvation of our God.

Iaiah 52:7-10 (NRSV)

As I read this passage I was immediately reminded of my days in high school and college when we sang these words in gospel choruses. Of course we sang them in the King James language, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of them, who bring good news, good news. Proclaiming peace, announcing news of happiness, our God reigns, our God reigns!”

The early 70’s, like today, were a time of great turmoil. A years-long war and the protests of it had divided us and fractured our sense of well-being. Proclaiming over and again, “Our God reigns,” instilled some hope that we would make it through.

Perhaps the prophet had the same intent. His audience was a nation that had been ravaged, enslaved and kidnapped. The ones not carried away to Babylon, were left behind in a pillaged country, waiting without defenses for the next attack. Their magnificent temple, the seat of their faith, lay in ruins. What hope could they have?

Yet here comes this crazy man, this prophet, proclaiming that a future of peace and joy was coming — and soon. The sentinels up in the high places could already see it with their own eyes! What joy it must have been, for those who hoped it could be true. Their prayers would be answered. Their families would be reunited. Their wounds would be healed.

At this time of Advent, of preparation, let us recall these words, carefully preserved for centuries. Let us become the messengers with the beautiful feet proclaiming peace and announcing news of happiness. Our God reigns and all the ends of the earth shall see God’s salvation. Let it be so, amen.