Advent: the promise of shalom

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

“‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’

Jeremiah 33:14-16

In this world we can’t count on complete safety and good. We live in relative safety in at least much of the United States, where I live, though under the threat of terrorism.

At the same time, there’s much left to be desired. The safety we live in is subject to many problems, some life threatening in themselves. And human flourishing, while much more possible here than elsewhere, is subject itself to difficulties that have to be overcome. And while there can be a measure of true justice in this world, at best, and arguably one of the world’s very best justice systems, that of the United States government, is at least in part broken. Problems abound by which the poor do not on balance have the legal representation that the rich have. One could go on and on, citing more problems, I’m sure.

But we have the Advent promise of God’s kingdom being set in place when heaven and earth are made one through the coming of King Jesus, the new Jerusalem descending to earth (Revelation 21). And so Jerusalem will have a makeover in this new Jerusalem, and will be so blessed, that it will be honored with the name,  “The Lord has provided us with justice.” (NET) Or, “The Lord Our Righteous Savior.” (NIV). (Jeremiah 33, linked above).

So we have the blessed Advent hope and promise of shalom for the earth, for all in King Jesus and God’s kingdom come in him. We look forward to that time, even as we pray for something of God’s will to be done on earth now, as it is in heaven. But the complete fulfillment of that prayer awaits the time when heaven and earth become one at King Jesus’ coming. True justice and abundant flourishing in the love of God’s kingdom in King Jesus, set in place, the former troubles of this world completely and forever forgotten, in the Love that will rule over all.

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