"Consider this ...."
It’s always fascinating to watch small children when they’re out for a walk. They take note of everything with a keen interest, examining their world in minute detail. They are captivated by things that grown up’s hurry past unseeing- like the veins of a leaf, petals from a flower, a snail’s shell. They may not make speedy progress but, for them, the journey is as important as the destination; the getting to as satisfying as the getting there.
The Christian life is often characterised as a journey and, as such, allows for similar opportunities for growth, maturing and lifelong learning, if only we keep our eyes, ears and minds open. Faith is not static and, although we are encouraged to press on towards the goal of salvation, we are also encouraged to be still and to grow in our awareness of God, other people, and ourselves.
These offerings are written to provide a moment for you to draw aside, reflect, and pray. They are based on the weekly Collect, Scripture readings and Post-Communion Prayer of the Church of Ireland. Wherever you may be on your own journey of faith, you are welcome to join us and to consider this…
The Second Sunday of Advent
Father in heaven,
who sent your Son to redeem the world
and will send him again to be our judge:
Give us grace so to imitate him
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The First Reading
The Second Reading
The Gospel Reading
Post Communion Prayer
here you have nourished us with the food of life.
Through our sharing in this holy sacrament
teach us to judge wisely earthly things
and to yearn for things heavenly.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This time last year our family were waiting. No we were not waiting for Christmas but for the arrival of a new member of the family as my son and daughter in law awaited the birth of their first child. Phone calls to them asked if they were ready – did they have the necessary equipment, did they have a case packed, were they really prepared for the change this new life would bring. In the event our granddaughter did not arrive until well into January and now we look forward to celebrating Christmas with her this year.
Are you ready? is a question often asked at this time of year and it nearly always refers to the preparations we make for December 25. Magazines are full of things to buy and cook, of things to decorate the house with and of tips for welcoming guests. If we are not careful we can be made to feel guilty if we don’t have all these things done.
Our gospel reading this week also speaks of preparation, ‘ “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”(Matt. 3:3) These words are a quotation from the prophet Isaiah but are used by John the Baptist as he is speaking in order to prepare people for ministry of Jesus Christ. His message is not that Jesus is about to be born (by the time these words were spoken Jesus was already a grown man) but that his ministry was about to begin. His was a message about the kingdom of God – this kingdom was drawing close and there was a need to prepare for its coming. If you read the beginning of the gospel reading you will see that the instruction is to ‘‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’(Matt. 3:2)
We live in an “in between“ time, We live between the two comings of Jesus Christ – he was born over 2,000 years ago and he will return in the future. The Bible makes this clear – for example after Jesus’ ascension the angels tell the disciples “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” and Jesus himself spoke of his return – the beginning of John 14 has Jesus words to his disciples as his death approached; he speaks of going to prepare a place for them and then says “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also”. Advent gives us an opportunity to make sure that we are ready for his return whenever that is.
One suggestion for this preparation focuses on the three Rs
Repent of the things we have done which are wrong
Remember all that Jesus has done for us.
Reflect on our faith and what it means to us.
The beginning of this hymn gives us a prayer that we can use.
Thy kingdom come, O God!
Thy rule, O Christ begin!
Break with thine iron rod
the tyrannies of sin!
Rev. Janice Elsdon.