December 4, 2016

Posted by on Dec 4, 2016 in Advent Devotional | No Comments

Sunday,  December 4, 2016  Second Sunday in Advent
Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12
By Jon Jensen

Early in my career at the university, I thought that leadership was, at best, accidental.  I had no choice in who my leaders were and there was plenty of work to do. Daily there were fascinating puzzles to solve.

About 11 to 14 years in, I realized that leadership was a huge factor and made a big difference.  The Dean, department and division chairpersons who encouraged us, were patient and showed gentle wisdom. We had a fruitful workplace as learning became spontaneous, staff cheerfulness rubbed off on patients and creative solutions to problems emerged.

As Solomon writes in Psalm 72, “May the reign of this Son of mine be as gentle and fruitful as the springtime rains upon the grass– like showers that water the earth!”…..anticipating the coming of Christ.

Two periods of stressful disorder, one about 12 to 13 years into the job, and the second for an extended five year stint at the end of my 37 years at the University taught me the value of friends.  Colleagues, family members, and friends at church encouraged me and tempered the experience of living in a dystopian environment at work.  Under duress, I began to posit that some people do not believe that God is here, or that they had forgotten.

Paul writes in his letter to the Romans – chapter 15 – “So I pray for you Gentiles that God who gives you hope will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him.”  “May God who gives patience, steadiness and encouragement help you to live in complete harmony with each other – each with the attitude of Christ toward the other.”

At both times of bitter exposure to the media, involvement of legal systems, and adverse political commentary on the research and functioning of the Department of Psychiatry, I trusted God’s Son and was profoundly aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew wrote about Christ’s coming – “With water I baptize those who repent of their sins; but someone else is coming, far greater than I am, so great that I am not worthy to carry his shoes!  He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

So, perhaps a “baptism of fire” is being so utterly unable to affect what is happening to us that we must turn to the Holy Spirit for help.  Isaiah foretold God with us, in our daily lives – in understanding the horribly fascinating puzzles that would otherwise overwhelm us.

Isaiah 11 – “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and might.” “Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”