Uncle Pastor Ray Minniecon reflects on the celebration, welcome, Joy and Hope we have in the coming of the Light of the World.
On the eighth day of Advent 2022, singer and songwriter, Alanna Glover, draws our vision to the hope and goodness of God’s new city.
For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice for ever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
I’ve had the privilege of living in some beautiful cities - sunny Sydney, a number of bustling, tropical cities in Indonesia, Denver in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of America, Vancouver, Canada with its snowy surrounds, and Oxford with its glorious spires! But these don’t even compare to the image of God’s city in the bible, as we see in our Advent reading today in Isaiah 65:17-25, which is even more wonderful - beautiful yes, but more importantly full of joy, thanksgiving and singing. The city of God is a place of refuge, peace and flourishing.
This song, ‘Sorrow fades’, draws from images in Isaiah and Hebrews recalling God’s words of comfort to Israel after the destruction of Jerusalem, promising to bring his people to a new city filled with joy and gladness and singing. Hebrews paints a picture of this new Jerusalem as the city of the living God. The way to this city is through Christ, on whom we are to keep our eyes fixed as we endure the struggles and hardships of this life. This song acknowledges that this life can be tough, but we have a wonderful future ahead, and can already join in the praises of the heavenly assembly.
And as we celebrate the birth of Christ we praise God for the gift of His son Jesus who helps this picture of goodness, comfort and joy break into our world today.
'Sorrow Fades' is from Emu Music’s Joy In Sorrow album, a collection of songs for God's people to call to him in sorrow and cry out to him in praise.
Alanna Jane Glover is the creative director of Emu Music, a ministry that exists to equip the church with biblical, beautiful and transformative singing. Her role involves songleading, songwriting, training and lecturing. She is passionate about resourcing people in local churches with the songs and skills that they need to love Jesus more by singing his word together. She has also served as a church music director in Sydney and member of the band Garage Hymnal. Alanna lives on Gadigal country in Sydney where she splits her time between Emu Music, being a mum and completing her Masters of Theology. She has a Bachelor of Theology from Sydney Missionary Bible College and a BA Music Degree from Sydney University.
'Day 8' feature photograph taken by Leaf Klevjer of afternoon clouds at Garie (‘sleepy’ in Dharawal language) on Dharawal Land of the Wodi Wodi people.