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Weekly Bible Notes

First Sunday in Advent Year C, Purple


Click here to see a copy of our Advent Wreath lighting ceremony

Introduction

The colour for Advent is purple which signifies that something serious is taking place. Purple is the colour of saying sorry, at Lent, it is the colour of mourning at funeral, it is the colour of reflective watchfulness at Advent. This is the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and begins on Sunday nearest to 30th November.

The word Advent comes from the Latin 'adventus' meaning coming. It is a penitential season but is no longer associated with the strictness of Lent. Nevertheless Advent reminds us that the question is not whether Jesus will return to judge the earth, but when. There is much about Advent to enjoy, the Advent wreaths found in our churches where they have four candles to be lit each Sunday and one for Christmas Day. But in the midst of our church we know that just as we prepare for Christmas, so we have to make ready to welcome Jesus in our lives. Are you ready for the coming of Jesus?

At Advent we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas, but it also reminds us of the coming of Christ again. As Christians we should all want Christ to come, yet we live all year round in Advent time, the period in which we are waiting and preparing for the return of Christ. This means that Advent should be a time characterised by vigilance. We are living in the present but trying very hard to bring to the present the realities of the future. Our lives should be characterised by the lifestyle of heaven, even though we are currently inhabitants of planet earth.

It is difficult to know how to interpret the standards of Jesus for our society. How do we ‘turn the other cheek’ in a society in which people are brutally murdered on our streets. Yet Advent tells us that we Christians are to do just that, bring God’s reign in our own lives in such a way that we are salt in this sorry society and bring about change which makes a real difference. We must not become fatigued, we prepare inwardly and spiritually, but if that means anything it is demonstrated visibly in our changed lives. Somebody said "Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life." This Advent we are challenged not to blame others, but instead to recognise that the change must come from us as we live the new lives of the Kingdom. Charles Royden

Opening Sentence Romans Chapter 13:11

Now is the time to wake out of sleep: for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
 

Collect Prayer for the Day (Before we read we pray)

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Common Worship & Methodist Worship

Lord our God, keep us your servants alert and watchful as we await the return of Christ your Son, so that when he comes and knocks at the door he may find us vigilant in prayer, with songs of praise on our lips.   Methodist Worship

Almighty God, as your kingdom dawns, turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness, that we may be ready to meet you in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Common Worship Shorter Collect

Second Reading Jeremiah Chapter 33 v 14 - 16

‘The days are coming,' declares the LORD, `when I will fulfil the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of 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 Righteousness.’

 

Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 3 v 9 - 13

 
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Gospel Reading Luke 21 v 25 – 36


There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. "I tell you the truth; this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."


Post Communion Sentence

O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Commentary

We are supposed to enjoy Advent. In our services we will be lighting candles in a beautiful ceremony which counts down to Christmas. This is a time when we look forward to the coming of Jesus which we remember and celebrate at Christmas. Yet of course Jesus is already with us as a Christian community and this is some of the ambiguity of Advent, there is a sense of ‘already and not yet.’ It is the fact that Jesus is with his people now which gives Christians confidence and reassurance for the future. We are a people who can step out into the future knowing that God is in charge. When Jesus left his disciples physically, his presence did not in any way diminish, rather his risen presence pervades the whole world. This is why so many prophetic voices proclaiming the second coming seem to sound hollow, they look forward to a return of Jesus and somehow fail to look around and see that Jesus has never left. It is as if every person holding a billboard with ’the end is nigh’ is blissfully unaware of Jesus standing behind them.

Today, the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the new church liturgical year. Advent is a time of watching and waiting, but this does not mean standing around with our hands in our pockets hoping that one day Jesus is going to appear on a cloud. Neither does fulfillment come on December 25 when we symbolically place the doll in a crib scene. Advent has been seen as this time of looking to the future to see if we can discern Jesus return. It is like one of those people taxi people at an airport by the arrivals holding a sign with the name of the person they are supposed to give a lift. This image rightly captures the Advent message of being alert, but it fails miserably to see that Jesus has already arrived, and now being ‘alert’ and ‘watching’ means ensuring that we are about his business.
In Luke today Jesus uses apocalyptic language to encourage the faithful to be participants with God in his purposes, even in the most difficult of times. Jesus’ tells us to “be on guard so that our hearts are not weighed down with... the worries of this life” [v. 34]. This might especially be true of Christmas but it is also for throughout the year, an invitation not lose the focus of our faith, but to be fully attentive so that we might not miss any opportunity for participation in God’s ongoing work of creative transformation. This is the work to which Advent and the new church year calls us.

Today on the first Sunday of Advent we see Jesus in apocalyptic preaching telling that the old systems, the old kingdoms are falling away so that God’s kingdom, with all of the power of Christ’s love can come in its place. This rebuilding is taking place now and we are a part of it, all who are not idly standing in the airport but living as citizens of the kingdom of God.

So, this is a time of reaffirm our trust in God’s promises and ensure that we are alive to seeing Jesus in our midst and ensuring that we are sharing in his work. If Jesus were to physically walk the streets of our community what would he see and say and do? What concerns are there on the heart of God for the people around us and are these our concerns? We Christians are supposed to be part of the Kingdom of God, going about this world as citizens living out the new ways to which we have been called.

It is unsurprising that we walk past Jesus in the street without recognising him, this is exactly what the Bible tells us characterised his birth and subsequent life. While a few Magi and shepherds came and worshipped and Herod tried to have him killed, the rest of the world got on with business as usual. The truth is that Jesus just didn’t live up to the expectations which people had of him, in fact for most he was a bit of a disappointment. They wanted so much more in the sense of fulfilling the human desire for excitement and power.

Around us over weeks of Advent we will be seduced by the trappings of Christmas and we will taste lovely food, see beautiful and tinsel and as it all grows and develops we will almost naturally start to sing ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.’ However Advent is a season of purple, a solemn season. The reason for this solemnity is clear, whilst we enjoy the festivities of the season, we are nevertheless mindful that the grown up Jesus is already Immanuel, ‘God with us.’ He is seeking to engage us in his work now, rather than just look back and re-enact the nativity. There is always a temptation to see Advent as a count down to Christmas, counting how many sleeps are left until we can enjoy ourselves, opening the doors on the calendar and eating chocolates one a day at a time before the big event. But Advent is not a countdown, it is a season in itself, a time of preparedness and reflection to ensure that we are a part of God’s ongoing work of redemption. If we are not ’on duty’ in the service of the Kingdom now, then Christmas is a fairy story and Jesus has no more importance than Harry Potter.
It is this solemnity which causes us to look past the mind numbing carols and Christmas trappings which beguile us to sing sugar coated songs about still silent nights with twinkling stars. The first Christmas was born out of human misery and pain in a land under military occupation in which human life was so cheap that babies could be killed without mercy, on the hunch that one might be a political threat. Of course little has changed and Christmas today will be a most difficult time for many people. Issues around relationships are thrown into much sharper focus and the pains of such things as broken families and bereavements can be at their most painful. This year the global economic and social challenges which we face are more acute and our welfare system is in a state of change and cutbacks which will inevitably bring problems which throw people back on their own resources or lack of them, without a safety net.

While Christmas preparations are unavoidable we need to work on living in the present and not let the season's preparations divert our attention. There is a story told which may or may not be true but which makes the point quite clearly. It is said that two hundred and twenty years ago the Connecticut House of Representatives was in session on a bright day in May, and the delegates were able to do their work by natural light. But then right in the middle of debate, the day turned to night. Clouds obliterated the sun, and everything turned to darkness. Some legislators thought it was the Second Coming. So a clamour arose. People wanted to adjourn. People wanted to pray. People wanted to prepare for the coming of the Lord. However the speaker of the House, who was a Christian believer rose to his feet. ‘We are all upset by the darkness’, he said, ‘and some of us are afraid. But, the Day of the Lord is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. And if the Lord is returning, I, for one, choose to be found doing my duty. I therefore ask that candles be brought. At which the men who expected Jesus went back to their desks and resumed their debate.

So this year as you celebrate and enjoy all the best that Christmas has to offer with family and friends, keep vigilant and seek of God to know what is your duty and where service might be found for a citizen of the new kingdom. Charles Royden

Meditation

I have to try and remember this year never to write Xmas, in the past it has caused zealous Christian to write me three page letters telling me that I am unworthy and selling out the real meaning of Christmas to Beelzebub. Of course ‘X’ is the Greek letter chi which together with ‘P’ the Greek letter Rho, form the first two letters of Christ used in the chi-rho monogram, a very ancient Christian symbol. In fact Constantine used it in the fourth century as a religious emblem placed on the shields of his soldiers as a conquering sign, not something which Jesus would have had in mind.
The Church has been using X as an abbreviation for the word Christ for centuries, especially since the invention of the printing press and Webster’s dictionary acknowledges that the abbreviation Xmas was in common use by the middle of the sixteenth century. It is not part of a secular plot to obliterate Jesus and we need to be lot less defensive around the whole season. We Xians are not the only ones who celebrate a winter holiday at this time of year, in fact we pinched it off a pagan festival around the winter solstice. Many people will come along to Church this year at Christmas time because they sense something special, we have to try not to put them off by being too precious and holy. If we really want to keep Christ in Christmas’ then the way to do that is to ensure that we are doing the kinds of things which Jesus spent his time doing, looking after the poor, the lonely and the sick. He was a really holy man who never bragged about what he did and would never have wanted his name up in lights however we decided to spell it. Perhaps that cross (X) is a way we can remind ourselves of the kind of life he lived for others and a cross (X) can also be a great way of us expressing our love for him by doing the same.

 

Hymns

  1. O come o come Immanuel

  2. There’s a sound on the wind

  3. Fear not rejoice and be glad

  4. Come thou long expected Jesus

  5. Lo, He comes on clouds descending

 

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Lord our God, keep us your servants alert and watchful as we await the return of Christ your Son, so that when he comes and knocks at the door he may find us vigilant in prayer, with songs of praise on our lips. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

God of all hope and joy, open our hearts in welcome that your Son Jesus Christ at his coming may find in us a dwelling prepared for himself; Amen. (New Zealand Prayer book)

Come Lord Jesus, come as King. Rule in our hearts, come as love. Rule in our minds, come as peace. Rule our actions, come as power. Rule in our days, come as joy. Rule in our darkness, come as light. Rule in our bodies, come as health. Rule in our labours, come as hope. Thy Kingdom come among us(David Adam)

Our heavenly Father, as we once again prepare for Christmas, help us to find time in our busy lives for quiet and thought and prayer, that we may reflect upon the wonder of your love. Allow the story of the Saviour’s birth to deepen our joy, make our worship more real and our lives more worthy of all you have done for us through the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Frank Colquhon)

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen
 


Additional Material

Prayers for Sunday

Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee
All things are passing,
God never changeth
Patient endurance,
attaineth to all things
Who God possesseth,
in nothing is wanting:
Alone God sufficeth. St. Teresa of Avila

I am made in the image and likeness of God. I am created and sustained by the breath of God. I am held in the palm of God's hand. I am loved by God with an everlasting love. I am made by the God of vision - whose plans for me are of fullness, not harm—who gives me a future and a hope. I am created by God to live a life worthy of my vocation. I am held by God - in whom I live, I move, and have my being. I am loved by the God who sent his only Son so that I might not die but may have eternal life. I am made a new creation in Christ. I am created to be a living sacrifice of praise. I am held together with my brothers and sisters - one Body in Christ. I am loved by God who is for me - who can stand against me? I am made as God's work of art. Richard Hagen, C.SS.R

Dear Jesus, please grant peace and happiness to us all. Give to us health in mind and body. Allow us to recognise and repair our faults and show us the way to be more tolerant with others. O Jesus, let us work and play mindful of the suffering that you endured because of our sins and help us to love one another as you love us. Amen.

Father, help us to remember how precious we are in your sight and to refrain from undermining our worth or the worth of others by comparing ourselves to one another. It is because we are different that each of us special. Make us a people who are grateful for the mercy we have received and who in thanksgiving pour out the abundance of love that you shower upon us. Amen.

Lord, we come to you this day to thank you for the privilege we have to be a part of your family. We thank you for your goodness - we thank you for your love. Help us to remain consistent in our relationship with you and in our daily walk as believers. May we return good for evil and bless those who curse us. Keep us focussed on following in the footsteps of Christ and doing as he did. Lord hear our prayer. Amen.

Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we wait for the coming of your Son; then when He appears, He will not find us sleeping in sin, but active in His service and joyful in His praise, for the glory of your Holy name. Amen

Living God, you have given us a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: grant that we, being risen with Him, may fix our hearts on heavenly things and share eternal life. Amen

Come, O Lord, in much mercy down into my soul and take possession and dwell there. A poor dwelling, I confess, for so glorious a Person as You. Yet, I am preparing for a fitting reception of you, by holy and fervent desires of your own inspiring. Enter then, and adorn my soul, and make it a worthy place for you to inhabit, since it is the work of your own hands. Give me yourself, without which, even if you should give me all that you ever have made, yet this would not satisfy my desires. Let my soul ever seek you, and let me persist in seeking, until I have found, and am in full possession of you. Amen.   St. Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen

 

Hymns

  1. Joy to the world

  2. There's a sound on the wind

  3. From heaven you came

  4. When the angel came to Mary (On service sheet)

  5. Christ is surely coming

  6. Come Thou long expected Jesus

  7. Make Way, Make Way

  8. Fear not Rejoice and be Glad

  9. Lo, He comes on clouds descending

  10. As sons of the day (tune Laudate Dominum) words below
     


Commentary

Advent 1

Advent – the present meets the future
The vast majority of people who lived in Palestine at the time of Christ lived barely above the subsistence level. Their great concern was more about where their next meal was coming from, whether there would be enough for everyone, rather than over indulgence and drunkenness. They were focused on the present day and the challenges that presented rather than excesses or the future. The rich and elite on the other hand would be far less concerned about the immediate moment but would have the time and the wealth to party all night, and to be consumed by the generation of personal wealth and influence. In the gospel passage Luke addresses every element of the society of the day, both rich and poor, from the destitute to the elite. And his message is the same. Keep watch and pray. These days we may want to use satellite communications, space telescopes, weather stations, astronomers, physicists and meteorologists to warn us about the signs of cosmic changes. Advanced communications methods and a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of science have certainly improved and simplified our lives. But if we want to communicate with the One who controls true cosmic order, we need to turn to prayer. Our own human insights take us only so far, beyond this we need to turn to God.

James Kay writes: the message of Advent is that we can never take our own projections more seriously than God's promises. When we least expect it and when there is no evidence for it, God's power comes into this godless world in ways the world itself could never predict or foresee. Just ask Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, or Simeon and Anna. Ask Emperor Tiberius, Governor Pilate and King Herod, for they too await a promise enduring than their reigns. We cannot deny that nations remain in agony. We cannot deny that ecological collapse appears imminent. We cannot deny that we are choking on our fears. But we also cannot deny that God is faithful to Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ has a future and that our redemption is entwined with his. Advent bids us to stand erect, confident and hopeful. Whatever beclouds our unsettled future, our redemption is drawing near, and our faith will lead us to see the promised face of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes it seems that we are more concerned with the future than we are with the present. But Jesus doesn’t just encourage us to spend time interpreting the signs around us concerning the future end of time, He encourages us to experience His presence and signs within us in the present. A presence which often prompts us regarding our own inner disorder and the need for constant forgiveness and renewal. We can know Him in the present whilst looking for His coming in the future in the richness of His glory. The Savior has come, is coming and will always come.

At Advent we look forward to the second coming of Christ as Messiah, Lord and King from the perspective of a people of today, redeemed by Jesus the suffering servant and the crucified and risen Lord. The future and the present linked together by hope, the positive expectation of a promise to be fulfilled. We look forward to Christmas with hope and expectation, for the gifts and presents that will be hoped for and exchanged, the celebrations, parties and family get togethers, and also the spiritual insights that come to us in a fresh way each year at Christmas as God becomes incarnate in the form of a baby and breaks into our world. And we look to the hope that the New Year will bring.

In our mission project this year we have focused on the mission hospital in Kisiizi in Uganda. Through the generosity that has been shown by many in the church and beyond we have been able to provide hope for the sick and suffering in Kisiizi who need medical support and help. For many, they will have a hope they never expected this Christmas as we all await the coming of the King. Sam Cappleman

 

Commentary

This is the season of Advent, when we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus, celebrated at Christmas. Next week the carol services start in our churches, with different groups holding their own services there will be several services of one kind or another each week now until Christmas. This is a difficult time, indeed by the time Christmas eventually comes some of us will be suffering from ‘FFS’ that is ‘festive fatigue syndrome.’ Its good to give these things a name, it makes them sound more serious and researched, somehow ’fed up’ doesn’t sound nearly as important.

Does part of you want to just fast forward to Christmas Eve and avoid the messy bits in between?

At Advent we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas, but it also reminds us the coming of Christ again. This means that Advent is very much like life in general, and sometimes I suppose we wish that we could just fast forward over the messy bits, and have Jesus appear now. No wonder that the Bible finishes with a prayer hoping that Jesus will come soon’ Revelation 22:20 ‘He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.’

As Christians we should all want Christ to come, yet we live all year round in Advent time, the period in which we are waiting and preparing for the return of Christ. This means that Advent should be a time characterised by vigilance. We are living in the present but trying very hard to bring to the present the realities of the future. Our lives should be characterised by the lifestyle of heaven, even though we are currently inhabitants of planet earth.

The text from Luke encourages us to think of the Lord’s second coming on this Sunday on which we begin to prepare for Christmas. One Advent leads to another, but in the meantime we have the task of striving to build up a new community founded on justice and God’s righteousness. As Luke tells us we have to be careful not to be ‘weighed down by the anxieties of this life,’ instead we should be ‘always on the watch, and pray.’ It is hard to live in a manner which reflects God’s kingdom, rather than the somewhat shabby standards which are all too evident around us. We can too easily become preoccupied by ‘life’ just as we can loose the real meaning of Christmas in all of the preparations which cause ‘festive fatigue syndrome.’

It is difficult to know how to interpret the standards of Jesus for our society. How do we ‘turn the other cheek’ in a society in which young children are brutally murdered on our streets, as we tragically heard again this week? Yet Advent tells us that we Christians are to do just that, bring God’s reign in our own lives in such a way that we are salt in this sorry society and bring about change which makes a real difference. We must not become fatigued, we prepare inwardly and spiritually, but if that means anything it is demonstrated visibly in our changed lives. Somebody said "Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life." This Advent we are challenged not to blame others, but instead to recognise that the change must come from us as we live the new lives of the Kingdom. Charles Royden

Commentary

Advent is the season four weeks before Christmas in which we prepare for the coming of Christ. Its name comes from the Latin word adventus, which means "coming". The season celebrates Christ's anticipated coming again in the fullness of time to rule triumphantly over life in heaven and earth, as well as the coming of Christ as the infant Saviour whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. And because the season emphasizes Christ's comings and not just his birth, it’s more than just a time to get ready for Christmas.


The season of Advent came into being toward the middle of the sixth century. At first, the Advent Season was determined as the six Sundays leading up to Christmas. This was then reduced to four Sundays by Pope St. Gregory the Great (591-604). Before the seventh century, Christmas was a secondary feast, especially in Rome, but as it came to take on more and more importance, so the season of Advent evolved in a similar manner. Advent became more solemn and its orientation changed. From just being a time to prepare for Christmas, it became a time to look to the glorious return of the Lord and now the Sunday’s of Advent reflect this double perspective of waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus (First and Second Sundays) and the immediate preparation for the feast of Christmas (Third and Fourth Sundays). The Roman Catholics summarise Advent by saying, "When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present the ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for, by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His Second Coming."


God’s first intervention within our history came not in the form of some instant or earth shattering event, but instead God chose to come into the world as we all do, to be born as a baby in the midst of a chaotic world. By our own impatient standards this seems such a slow way to bring salvation to the world. But God may not always choose the easy answer or the quick fix. But by His earthly incarnation He demonstrates a total commitment to the very core of humanity. A commitment, to its day by day routines and challenges, a commitment to humanity from the cradle to the grave and beyond. And in that same incarnational way, God comes to us day by day, through the working of the Spirit, through His Word and Sacrament, making the ordinary extraordinary; making the broken whole; and redeeming and restoring the past, present and future, whatever they hold.
 

This is a message which is clear in the gospel reading today. History, myth, belief and imagery come together to create a vision, the strength of which is not in trying to understand the detail of Christ’s second coming but in catching a glimpse of the message of salvation and healing being completed. We should not spend our time worrying about the timing of God’s arrival or about the distraction of what might happen in the meantime. God’s reign has already broken into our world through the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ. His Kingdom is near and it is coming, even as it is already arrived but not fully realized. We are to remain watchful, and aware, and to be prepared for the final coming, which is likely to arrive any time that God’s love is shared with uncommon grace in a world so desperately in need of that love. It is through us, and through the very imperfect Church that bears His name that His love and grace continue to come and spread, at Advent and through the Christian year ahead as we look to His coming in glory.     Sam Cappleman

 

Meditation

Come, O Lord, in much mercy down into my soul and take possession and dwell there. A poor dwelling, I confess, for so glorious a Person as You. Yet, I am preparing for a fitting reception of you, by holy and fervent desires of your own inspiring. Enter then, and adorn my soul, and make it a worthy place for you to inhabit, since it is the work of your own hands. Give me yourself, without which, even if you should give me all that you ever have made, yet this would not satisfy my desires. Let my soul ever seek you, and let me persist in seeking, until I have found, and am in full possession of you. Amen.  St. Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)

Meditation

When Christ comes again in His risen glory to judge the world His first questions to us might not be ‘What have you done and how have you lived?’ but ‘Are you ready?’ Advent is a time of looking forward and being prepared for the future festivities, both temporal and spiritual. How ready we are may well depend on the preparations we have made.

Hymn

A Hymn for Sunday

1 As sons of the day and daughters of light,
no longer we sleep like creatures of night:
For Jesus has died that with him we may live;
by all he has given, we learn how to give.

2 One body in Christ, let all play their part:
the lazy be warned, the timid take heart;
let those who are hurt never pay back with wrong,
but serve one another: together be strong!

3 Be constant in prayer, at all times rejoice,
in all things give thanks-let God hear your voice!
alive to the Spirit, alert to his word, test all things,
and hold to what pleases the Lord.

4 May God who first called, gave peace and made whole,
preserve us from fault in body and soul:
our Lord Jesus Christ keep us firm in his grace
until at his coming we meet face to face.
Tune Laudate Dominum