Deceived by darkness

34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. (Luke 11:34-35, NIV)

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Second Sunday of Advent

For Christians, Advent is not a time of opening up little windows with chocolates as we await the really big booty of presents under the tree on Christmas morning. That is not what we are waiting for. We are waiting for light, for God to renew and heal the world, a promise that we understand to have been mysteriously embodied in a baby born in a manger.

Advent recognizes a profound spiritual truth — that we need not fear the dark. Instead, wait there. Under that blue cope of heaven, alert for the signs of dawn. Watch. For you cannot rush the night. But you can light candles. Sing some songs. Recite poetry. Say prayers. (Diana Butler Bass)

Advent and the power of prayer

Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1, CEB)

George MacDonald wrote this about prayer:

And why should the good of anyone depend on the prayer of another? I can only answer with the return question, “Why should my prayers be powerless to help another?”

The Lord taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done.”

Lord, bring me into living, loving prayer.

The Great Hope of Advent

We have entered into Advent. It is a time of longing. This season brings a renewed sense of longing for the second coming of our Lord. Each year brings a new perspective to me. Sometimes it is remembering his first coming and the longing of Israel. This time it is a longing to see the Lord truly come in justice.

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Sing of mercy and justice

“Justice, biblically speaking, is about God taking everything that’s wrong with the world and making it right. In God’s kingdom, things are turned upside down. The least are now the greatest. The last are now the first. Justice is God taking what’s broken and bringing it to wholeness. In Advent, a season of longing and expectation, we wait for God to make things right. And this is a key theme of Mary’s song: Lord, make it right.” — Rich Villados (from Advent: Living Hope, a resource from Christianity Today)

Third Sunday of Advent

O Lord Jesus Christ, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise make ready your way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient toward the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world, we may be found a people acceptable in your sight; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP 2019)

Third Sunday of Advent – Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph

“Come Up Here”

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. (Rev. 4:1-2)

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The One who is WITH us

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isa. 53:3)

We want a warrior Messiah. We want the Jesus mean and wild. We want the celebrity Jesus all too often. So, when Jesus comes and identifies with the marginalized of our world and we find him in places like refugee camps, we don’t recognize him.

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Advent and the Apocalypse

In Luke’s gospel, when Jesus speaks apocalyptically of “signs in the sun and moon and stars” and the “distress of nations,” he ends by saying that humanity “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25–27). He is speaking of himself and his Second Coming. He’s telling us that our great hope comes not through any human development but through himself. He possesses sovereign power that is independent of human history. In spite of all appearances to the contrary, in spite of the apparent darkness, God in Christ is shaping our history in accordance with his divine purposes.

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Happy New Year!

Over the years I have learned more and more about Advent and the Church calendar. I have known it was the beginning of the Church Year because the Church calendar doesn’t follow the regular calendar of the world or culture. In the U.S. we put so much stock in a “new year” and January 1.

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