Word for the Week
Sunday, December 3, 2017 First Sunday of Advent Introduction
Stir up your power, and come! The psalmist’s plea in Psalm 80:2 has become familiar to us in the Advent prayers. Isaiah wants God to rip the heavens open. Both cry out for an apparently distant, angry God to show up, to save, to restore. When we hear Jesus describing the coming of the Son of Man with stars falling from heaven, it can sound dire and horrible, not like anything we would ever hope for. But when we really look at the suffering of people God loves, we can share the hope that God would tear open the heavens and come.
Prayer of the Day
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection awaken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9
This lament comes from a people who have had their hopes shattered. The visions of a rebuilt Jerusalem and a renewed people of God, spoken of in Isaiah 40–55, have not been realized. Instead, the people experience ruin, conflict, and famine. This lament calls God to account—to be the God who has brought deliverance in the past.
Psalm: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved. (Ps. 80:7)
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
As the Christians in Corinth await the advent of Jesus, Paul reminds them how the Lord has already enriched them through spiritual gifts and will continue to strengthen them until the coming day of the Lord.
Gospel: Mark 13:24-37
In today’s reading, Jesus encourages his followers to look forward to the day when he returns in power and glory to end all suffering.
Theme for the Advent season
Advent is a time of hope-filled expectation and a time of diligent preparation. We know that God is coming to us in the birth of Jesus. Salvation is near. Light *is* coming.
Are we ready? How do we prepare for something like this? How do we tend to our own light as we await the Light of the World?
This Advent season we are encouraged to slow down and to be patient while diligently preparing for the coming of Christ. In our frenzy-paced and instant gratification fueled world, these messages may seem incredibly out of place. Our busyness prevents us from slowing down and the chaos and suffering we see and experience in the world make waiting a painful and frustrating process.
Our need for the Light is immediate and our longing for God’s peace and salvation is so great that it is natural to be anxious. In these most desperate and need-filled moments, despite the frenzy and anxiety and fear, we are encouraged to quiet our hearts and minds and trust in God’s promise.
This Advent, may we together be patiently preparing for the birth of Christ in our lives and birth of Light in the world. May we breathe deep and pray often. May we let go of the things that bind us and attempt to distance us from God. May we free our minds from the doubt and guilt that cloud our judgment. May we serve those in need and share God’s Word. And – may we shine our light for others to see as we await the Light of Christ.