Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:2-4; 3:[3b-6] 17-19

We enter the season of Advent in the Narrative Lectionary with a perhaps unfamiliar holiday companion, Habakkuk. It is a bleak passage, describing a difficult passage in the history of Israel. We can imagine some difficult passages when we read the news today too. Children facing tear gas when seeking asylum at the US-Mexican border. Famine and war in Yemen. Contentious political climates. Emboldened racism and nationalism.

What does Habakkuk have to say to our world today?

The commentary at Working Preacher is here.  One point they lift up is from Calvin’s commentary on Habakkuk. “Tyrants and their cruelty cannot endure without great weariness and sorrow…”

There is a lot in this passage about waiting. And while we might dispute with God about what an appropriate amount of time is for a “delay”, maybe the hope for us is the reminder that what we are hoping for determines how we wait.

If we are people of despair, who have no hope, what is our behavior in the time of waiting?

If we are people who trust in God’s ‘vision for the appointed time’, with what do we busy ourselves as we prepare?

In the first verses of chapter 3 (which aren’t assigned for the day), Habakkuk prays this:

“O Lord, I have heard of your renown, and I stand in awe, O Lord, of your work. In our own time revive it. In our own time, make it known. In wrath, may you remember mercy.”

I love the prophets plea for God to act “in our own time”. And his voice echoes down to us today, when we, too, could use God’s presence “in our own time”.

Where is the text taking you this week? How are you incorporating Habakkuk into Advent 1?

Feel free to share ideas for worship, children’s time, music. Share links to advent liturgies and prayers you’ve written or found in your searches.

Marci Auld Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood and the Mission Agency Board of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book,There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).

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2 thoughts on “Narrative Lectionary: Waiting in Hope

  1. advent 1, Habakkuk, a Baptism [at the early service] and monthly communion [at both services]. i am not sure advent one will get attention other than the advent candle lighting. Maybe all my intro to advent ideas will wait for next week.
    With Habakkuk, i am thinking of including a lament, probably a song: How long.
    other than that i want hope to be the message. hope when everything looks like God has abandoned us.
    i changed the reading slightly to include the beginning of chapter 3. Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:2-4; 3:1-4. 17-19


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