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Psalm 66, 67; Isaiah 11:10-16; Luke 1:5-25

Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer:
Dr. Steven Bishop, Advent Meditation
The passage from Isaiah is a remarkable combination of images that take the reader from Egypt to 2016_advent_cover_largethe River Euphrates and several places in between.  Familiar images are drawn upon to issue a message of hope: the Exodus, the root of Jesse, and the return of those Israelites scattered by the Assyrian Empire.
This Scripture may cause us to scratch our head over its inclusion with passages for Advent.  There is, after all, a bit of fire and brimstone lurking in God’s promise to restore Israel from her exile among the nations.  A desperate situation, however, calls for desperate measures.  The will of God to exercise power on behalf of the weak is a recurring theme throughout our Bible.
That Isaiah is paired with Luke provides a lens to read these Scriptures as expressions of hope for the barren.  Whether it is the barren Elizabeth for whom God works an extraordinary miracle or barren Israel, suspended in the barrenness of displacement.
We speak of Advent as a time of hope that God’s decision to enter the world through Christ fits well with God’s tendency to give a child to an elderly couple or to give life to an entire nation that seemed destined to vanish.
It is in God’s powerful advocacy for all those who wait in hope for a miracle that we can keep before us this day.
God of our Ancestors, give us hearts filled with hope as we expect your miracles.
In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Dr. Steven Bishop
Associate Professor of Old Testament

faculty_steven_bishop_10.08Dr. Bishop came to the Seminary of the Southwest from the Boston area in 2004 where he earned three graduate degrees and taught at several universities. Formerly an ordained minister of the Church of Christ, he served churches in Texas and Massachusetts before beginning graduate studies in the early 1990s. Dr. Bishop’s academic interests include the poetry of the Hebrew Bible and literary translations of it into English, and the influence of Hellenistic thought on Hebrew wisdom literature. In addition to writing book reviews and presenting scholarly papers, Dr. Bishop assisted the well known Old Testament scholar Bernhard Anderson in editing and revising two books:Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for us Today and Contours of Old Testament Theology. Dr. Bishop worked again with Anderson as an editor and contributor for the fifth edition of Understanding the Old Testament. That book was published in spring 2006. B.S., Abilene Christian University. M.S., Texas A&M University. M.T.S., Boston University School of Theology. M.A. and Ph.D., Boston University.

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