Sunday, December 1, 2013

Time in the Word - Advent 2

Time in the Word
2-7 November 2013
Preparation for next week, Advent 2


The theme of hope, explicitly and implicitly, seems to unite the readings this coming week. In Old Testament lesson we hope for the righteous government and world peace. In the Epistle hope comes from the scriptures and the Spirit. John the Baptist in the gospel gives us hope through Christ’s baptism of the Spirit. If we have this hope, we are in need of preparation. Today’s gospel calls for repentance as preparation. The Prayer of the Day asks God “to prepare the way for your only Son.” The Hymn refers to John’s ministry calling for moral preparation, through repentance. On Advent 1 we considered the Second Coming. On Advent 2 we deal with Christ’s coming anew this Christmas by rebirth into our personal lives. If this is to be a real experience, preparation by repentance is necessary. In recent years blue has been introduced as the liturgical color for Advent because it is the color of hope.

Collect for the Second Sunday in AdventStir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming, give us strength in our conflicts and shed light on our path through the darkness of this world.

God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share His wisdom and become one with Him when He comes in glory, for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Lord, free us from our sins and make us whole. Hear our prayer, and prepare us to celebrate the incarnation of Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Collect for Psalm 72Almighty God, You gave the kingdom of justice and peace to David and his descendant, our Lord Jesus Christ. Extend this kingdom to every nation, so that through Your Son the poor may receive justice, the destitute relief, and the people of the earth peace in the name of Him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Monday, 2 December  2013 Psalm 105:4-8; antiphon, Isaiah 40:3b —In the Introit for Sunday, we pray In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Yet another prophecy is fulfilled! John the Baptist becomes that agent who will prepare the way for Christ to enter and begin His earthly ministry. The words of the Baptist are still needed for today’s ears “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!”

Tuesday, 3 December 2013Psalm 72:1-7 — Key verse “Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the king’s Son” (v. 1). Psalm 72 is a prayer for the king. This last psalm of book 2 is a fitting one for king Solomon’s reign. [See the title] Israel’s golden age of peace, prosperity and power come under the rule of King Solomon. But it also looks beyond it to the perfect idea; an endless reign (5) over the entire world (8, 11) and the rule of God-like justice and righteousness (7, 12-14) a time of unequalled fruitfulness (16). V.8 “The River” is the Euphrates. V.10 “Tarshish, Sheba”, means the remotest outpost of the empire. Sheba may be a region of Arabia. Tarshish is probably Tarshish in Spain. V. 16 “Like Lebanon” For a small country Lebanon produced an amazing abundance and variety of fruit and vegetables.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013 Isaiah 11:1-11— Can anything come out of a “stump”? Can life come out of death? The Messiah is rooted in the past, which is apparently as dead as a stump. Yet, out of death comes the life of Christ as the son of Jesse, the son of David. Our roots are vital. We go back to the life that comes out of our dead ancestors. Eternal life came out of Jesus’ grave. The butterfly comes out of a cocoon. Hope comes out of despair.

Thursday, 5 December 2013 Romans 15:4-13— The “scripture” in Paul’s day was the Old Testament. How can the Old Testament provide hope to Christians? Hope deals with the future and the Old Testament contains thousands of promises by God for the future. The greatest of these promises is the coming of the Messiah. In Jesus He has come. Hope has been realized. Yet, He is coming again for the consummation of history. We hope for His return.

Friday, 6 December 2013- Matthew 3:1-12 — We are to prepare a highway for God to come to us. Christmas is a receiving time of life when God comes to us in Christ. The world thinks of Christmas as a giving time and so we go through a mad rush to buy gifts. If Christ is to come to us this Christmas, we need to prepare to properly receive him. Thus, Advent is a preparatory season of repentance as the only way to be receptive.

A tree with bad fruit is to be burned, as millions of orange trees diseased with canker were destroyed in Florida. At the end of time, the chaff is to be burned with “unquenchable fire.” John the Baptist promised that Jesus would baptize with the Spirit and with “fire.” Fire symbolizes judgment. Christ comes as both Savior and Judge. The latter we like to forget. Evil is to be exterminated. In 2 Peter we are told that “the elements will be dissolved with fire.”

Saturday, 7 December 2013 Isaiah 40:3; Mathew 3:1-6- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s Cry. (LSB #344). This great Advent hymn is in harmony with the Gospel lesson. When the Baptist started preaching a message of repentance his words often were not heeded. As you sing this great hymn let the words speak to you. May the Lord prepare you to receive Christ joyfully this Advent/Christmas season and expect to see Him soon as we anticipate His return in glory.

Sources: Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY The Story of 50 Hymns © 1934 By General Mills, Inc Minneapolis, MN

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