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ADVENT MEDITATIONS – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24By Scott Bader-Saye
Psalms 45, 46; Isaiah 35: 1-10; Luke 1: 67-80
Listen to the author read their meditation and prayer:
For many of us, Christmas Eve conjures feelings of warmth and security. We are surrounded by friends or family, perhaps warming ourselves by a fire, resting in the comforts of home and good company. But even today our fears – personal, social, political – can press heavily upon us.
And so it is fitting that in our Isaiah passage we read, “Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.'” And in the passage from Luke, Zechariah prays, “grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve [God] without fear.” These are words we need to hear and take to heart. After a political season characterized by fear and anger, we need to remember that God has acted not just to deliver us from danger but to deliver us from fear. This does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but that God’s mission to redeem the world in Christ has made it possible for us to rest in God’s future.
Fear makes us incapable of the risks of following Christ; it makes us suspicious when we need to be hospitable; it makes us stingy when we need to be generous. As God’s people we are able to witness to life beyond fear’s control. As such we are able to extend grace and mercy to others as God in Christ has extended grace and mercy to us.
Holy God, deliver us from fearful hearts, that we might show the world what it means to rest courageously in your provision.
Dr. Scott Bader-Saye
Helen and Everett H. Jones Professor of
Christian Ethics and Moral Theology
SEMINARY OF THE SOUTHWEST
Scott Bader-Saye serves as academic dean and holds the Helen and Everett H. Jones Chair in Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest. He joined the faculty in 2009 after teaching for twelve years at the University of Scranton, a Jesuit university in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His academic interests include political theology, sexual ethics, ecology/economy, and Jewish/Christian/Muslim dialogue.
His publications include two books, Following Jesus in a Culture of Fearand Church and Israel After Christendom. He has contributed chapters to The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics and The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels, as well as having published articles in journals such as The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Modern Theology, Studies in Christian Ethics, Pro Ecclesia, Cross Currents and Christian Century.
He 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.
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