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Advent Meditation: Sunday, December 1, 2019

By Scott Bader-Saye

Psalm 146, 147, 111, 112, 113  •  Amos 1:1-5, 13-2:8  •  Luke 21:5-19

I wake up, shower, make coffee, and drive to work. It’s pretty much the same every day. And on the way, I am likely to turn on NPR. The rhythm and routine, the familiar voices, and the thoughtful journalism have made me a listener for most of my adult life. But recently, I’ve been noticing that I just can’t handle much news in the morning. It drags my thoughts into a spiral of dejection and distress. Even though the news of “wars and tumults” is punctuated by stories about movies, music, recipes, and sometimes tortoises, studies show that 3 minutes of bad news can translate into 8 hours of bad mood. When Jesus promises wars, earthquakes, famine, and pestilence, I start to wonder whether I’m reading the Bible or the New York Times. It’s a little hard to live up to his injunction, “do not be terrified.”  Scripture does not make it easy to transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas; it asks us to inject a little clear-eyed realism in between. Our sadness at the state of the world is bracketed by our celebration of God’s unfailing gifts. Advent is a call to action, to prayer, and to perseverance. And until the end really is near, we trust that the God who is coming to clean up this mess is the God who has already come and entered this mess—not simply as judge but as lover and redeemer.

God of gift and grace, who loves this world as it is and as it will be, deliver us from despair and free us for love. Amen.

Dr. Scott Bader-Saye
Academic Dean and Helen and Everett H. Jones Professor of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology
Seminary of the Southwest

Listen to Scott read his meditation and prayer:

Dr. Scott Bader-Saye joined the seminary faculty as the Helen and Everett H. Jones Chair in Christian Ethics and Moral Theology in 2009 and has served as academic dean since 2013.

His current research centers on theological readings of gender and transgender. Other research interests include economy, sexuality, political theology, virtue ethics, and interfaith dialogue. He teaches the core Theological Ethics courses for all degree programs. He is author of Formed by Love (2017), Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (2007), and Church and Israel After Christendom (1999/2005). He has contributed to The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics (2006) and The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels (2006) and has published widely in theological journals and magazines.

Professor Bader-Saye helped found and lead Peacemeal, a missional Episcopal community in Scranton, PA, served on the Episcopal Church Executive Council Economic Justice Loan Committee, currently serves on the Gathering of Leaders Steering Committee, and is active as a teacher and parishioner at St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church, a mission in northwest Austin.

The Advent Meditations and Prayers are a gift to our seminary community and are made possible through gifts to our Annual Fund. Seminary of the Southwest appreciates the support of its friends, alumni, and the communities around the world that its graduates serve for the glory of God. This support ensures that Southwest, as an institution made of individuals dedicated to service to God and their fellow members of the body of Christ, can continue doing its part to build the body of Christ.


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