It is through your life of gospel witness
lived in community with others
that God desires to manifest
care and compassionate love
to those who are separated and estranged,
not only from their neighbors,
but also from their own uniqueness;
to those who suffer
from want, neglect, and injustice:
the poor, the weak, and the oppressed
of this world.
They too are called
the love of God with the world
through their own giftedness.
Note: Today we intertwine with our Founder’s Week reflection the first reflection of our weekly Advent series called “Advent with the Brothers.” Each Sunday of Advent we’ll send a reflection on that day’s scripture.
Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. In today’s first reading, Isaiah presents a vision and a deep longing. Isaiah’s vision is that of the end days when the mountain of the LORD, Zion, will be established as the highest of mountains and all the nations and many peoples, like mountain streams, will flow to it so that the LORD will teach us his ways and so that we may walk in the LORD’S paths. Isaiah’s vision is filled with the very deep longing that many people, inspired by the word of the LORD shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Isaiah’s vision and longing are for shalom. To have shalom Isaiah exhorts us to walk in the light of the LORD.
This reading points to a community that is centered in the Word of the LORD and deeply longs for the day when we will walk in the LORD’s shalom a deep longing not only for peace as the absence of war, but also for shalom understood as the well-being and welfare of all people. What a vision! What a longing!
Our excerpt from the Fundamental Principles echoes Isaiah’s vision and longing. It speaks of the world Ryken desired to create with our lives centered in the Word of the Lord. This vision requires us to choose daily to walk in the light of the LORD. We also know that we cannot create this world alone. We live in community, a band of Brothers, Associates and Partners in mission. We know we need to be of one heart, one mind with others. We do so in order to put our talents to the service of God’s shalom as Isaiah notes. Shalom—the well-being and welfare of others. We realize we need each other’s gifts in order to accomplish God’s mission of making His care and compassionate love present, accessible and active in our world. We imitate Christ seeking out those who suffer from want, neglect, and injustice, the poor, the weak, and the oppressed of this world.
~Brother Edward Driscoll
1. Spend time reading Isaiah 2:1-5 and the re-reading the excerpt from the Fundamental Principles. Does any image stand out for you? Do you see yourself in the image? If so, spend some time with the image and the feelings surrounding it.
2. Think of the last newscast on TV or the last newspaper you read. What is your deepest longing for God’s world? Who are those suffering from want, neglect and injustice? Who are the poor, the weak and the oppressed in your world? Do you know how many children in your city live in poverty? Do you know what’s being done for them?
3. Recall an experience of community with others when the giftedness of each person helped make God’s care and compassionate love present, active and accessible to others. Recall the details of an event. What was it like for you to experience a community using its talents to bring about God’s mission?