Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Desolation or Restoration

Discussion Questions

  1. What are your “same ol’ same ol’ holiday preparations,” and how have they changed this year? How have the holiday preparations changed at your church?
  2. What are the cries of creation these days, expressed through people and through Earth herself? What might Isaiah’s vision of justice look like in response to those cries?
  3. Have you added “the work of Advent” to your schedule this month? What are those tasks for you?

Desolation or Restoration

Now the Lord is about to lay waste the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The earth shall be utterly laid waste and utterly despoiled; for the Lord has spoken this word. – Isaiah 24:1-3 (NRSV)

Traces of sulfur from the match used to light the second Advent candle are still in the air and today’s text talks about laying waste and desolation. It was the candle of peace no less. What is this text doing in the midst of a season set aside to prepare for the Prince of Peace?

Perhaps Wisdom is letting us know that the same ol’ same ol’ holiday preparations just won’t do in times such as these. Maybe the Prince of Peace wants us to know that if the Church does not urgently heed to the cries of creation and boldly lead in the work of healing and restoration – there will be no peace. There will be no life. Our story will be one of desolation with the earth.

The prophet Isaiah called the people back to right relationship with God. God is calling us back to right relationship with creation. Right relationships (justice) make room for peace, hope, joy and love.

This is the work of Advent. And every day.

Wise Creator, forgive us for the damage we have done. Open our hearts and minds to offer our gifts, resources, and bodies to the vital work of environmental justice, restoration, and stewardship. Amen.

Marilyn Pagán-Banks About the Author
Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/ella) is a queer womanist freedom fighter gratefully (though not always gracefully) serving as executive director of A Just Harvest, Senior Pastor at San Lucas UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is a joyful contributor to The Words of Her Mouth.