This morning was the second of a four-session Fall scripture study/prayer I am offering at Our Lady or Lourdes in Minneapolis. The series, titled from Creation to Annunciation is designed to help us prepare for our Christmas celebration of the coming of Christ. In our first session last week, we focused on Creation and Fall. My talk addressed the Genesis account of creation (and what it reveals about God’s plan), the entry of sin into the world, and God’s response to sin – the decision to incarnate.
This week’s session focused on The Promise of the Old Testament. That is, I spoke about the messages of three of the Old Testament prophets: Isaiah, Micah and Malachi, with an emphasis on Isaiah. Each of the three illustrates God’s promise: Though the people have wandered far from what God envisioned for them, God constantly invites them back. The repeated structure of the prophets is judgment and promise, judgment and hope. This is illustrated so well in the early part of the Book of Isaiah, which opens with the Book of Judgment. Yet, even as God is harshly castigating the people for their sins, God invites (as God does continually) “Come now, let us set things right.”
My talk also focused on our need to be active participants in “preparing the way of the Lord,” and on our call to be prophets.
Following my talk, we had a period of silent reflection, followed by some sharing. (That is not part of the recording.) I ended by encouraging the participants to spend time praying with the prophets this week. (Part of what we are trying to emphasize in this series is the value of praying with scripture and not just reading it as an intellectual exercise.)
You can access a recording of the my talk here or stream it from the icon below. (The podcast runs for 39:03.)