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ADVENT MEDITATIONS – MONDAY, DECEMBER 19By Anthony Baker
Psalm 61, 62; Isaiah 11:1-9; John 5:30-47
Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer:
“For God alone my soul in silence waits.” The 62nd Psalm reads as if spoken by one on the edge of lost hope. The world is alive with assault, falsehood, and curses. The psalmist stumbles through this dark world into a notion that first seems like a meta-hopelessness, and then after a moment turns into a silver-lined hope: nothing lasts. Every life is like an exhale of the world’s breath. That means that the hopeless will pass away; but it means that the curses and falsehoods that lock us into hopelessness will pass away as well.
There is no thing that lasts: and the God of Israel is beyond thingness. I do not, first of all, wait noisily for vindication of all the assaulted, for the undoing of falsehood, or the translation of curse into blessing. For God alone my soul in silence waits. And what do I await as I observe the passing of all things into the ultimate arrival of God? For the steadfast love that is the name of God, and so also no “thing.”
The Psalms are flooded with the insistence that the world is God’s, despite all the evidence to the contrary. So “steadfast love” is the great and final name of the world as well. This is all that lasts, and so it is also what my soul in silence awaits.
O God whose name is steadfast love, give us the grace this day to bless all things that pass away, and silently wait for you.
Dr. Anthony D. Baker
Clinton S. Quin Professor of Systematic Theology
SEMINARY OF THE SOUTHWEST
Professor Anthony D. Baker joined the seminary faculty in 2004. He teaches classes in both historical theology (focusing on a figure, an era, or a school of thought) and constructive theology (the building of persuasive arguments about God and creation). He is the author of Diagonal Advance: Perfection in Christian Theology, as well as various articles in Modern Theology, Political Theology, The Journal of Anglican Studies, Anglican Theological Review, and other journals and collections. He is currently working on a book that explores theological themes in the works of Shakespeare. Professor Baker is the theologian-in-residence at Saint Julian’s Episcopal Church in north Austin, where he and his wife Allison (a pediatrics nurse) and their three children attend. B.A., M.A., Olivet Nazarene University, Ph.D., University of Virginia.
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