Here's this week's "First Sunday of Advent" Bible study blog entry for i.ucc:
Growing up, I had a couple of assumptions about God. I’m not sure if it came from direct teaching or if it came more from putting pieces together from a variety of sources. Nevertheless, here are the assumptions:
1. You can’t complain to God
2. You can’t question God.
It didn’t take me long to challenge both of those assumptions (When I was in high school) but those early, persistent thoughts are still with me.
And I have a question for myself and for anyone who ever taught me ideas like that. “Did you ever read the Psalms?”
Sure, there’s lots of praise to God in the Psalms.But there’s also anguish, fear, isolation, complaints and questions!
The Psalms do such a great job of communicating the raw emotions of the writers. Reading them helps me to feel connected with the Bible not in a “Look at all the Bible heroes!” way, but rather an “Amazing – real, flawed people put this thing together!” way.
This week’s reading from Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 shows a writer asking for God’s restoration and questioning how long God will be angry with the people’s prayers. It shows a writer complaining and wondering when God will stop letting or even causing such awful things happen. The Psalm doesn’t put forth those ideas as truths about God. Instead it communicates the feelings of anguish, fear and isolation of the writer. It complains to and questions God!
1. You can complain to God
2. You can question God.
It’s the beginning of advent – a time of preparation to celebrate Jesus' birth – resulting from an unplanned pregnancy.