Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Anticipation - ADVENT Week 2

Advent 2013 - Week 2 - December 8

Revised Common Lectionary Reading:
Matthew 3:1-12

Advent is more than just a looking forward.  Each advent we say that we are looking forward to, once again, the birth and the coming again of Jesus.  For many, there is a remembrance of what has already happened and there is an anticipation of what is yet to come.  

But what about the "in-between"?  What about the place that is in the middle of the already and the not yet?  This is where we find ourselves right now, in this immediate moment.

Our passage today is about John the Baptist with the famous quote from the prophet Isaiah to "prepare the way" and "clear the road for him" (NLT).  In these immediate moments, how can we prepare the way for the coming of Jesus.  I see this preparation in a few different ways.

First, how can we prepare our own hearts and lives for Jesus to come to us once again.  How can we prepare ourselves for Jesus to be present within our lives.  What are the things that will be welcoming to him.  How would our lives be different if we had this type of focus?

Second, how can we prepare the world for the advent of Jesus?  Advent is not about our own lives only, but also what we can do within our world to prepare for Jesus to enter.  Now when I say this, I don't just mean in the future, but how he will enter our world now…through our very lives.  Through our very hands.

Third, how can we prepare others for Jesus to come to them?  Through the sharing of our lives and the generosity that come from sharing, we can actually prepare others' lives to welcome Jesus.

Pray about how these phrases, "prepare the way" and "clear the road for Him" and what they can mean for our lives as Jesus' disciples, living in such a way that this is what actually happens in and through our lives…that the way is prepared for Jesus to come, for Jesus to be present.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

ANTICIPATION - Advent 2013 - WEEK 1 (Dec 1)

ADVENT 2013 - WEEK 1 - December 1

Book of Common Prayer Daily Office:
READ LUKE 21:5-19

Advent.  The season of waiting. Waiting with anticipation. Anticipation of Jesus' coming into this world.  

Each year we celebrate this season before Christmas and once again look forward to the birth of Jesus.  You may say, "Wasn't he already born?" or "Hasn't he already come and gone?"

Well, yes…and no.  Yes, Jesus has already come, walked this earth, taught us so many things, and left this earth.  But, each year we anticipate his coming, again and again. 

Each year we ask Him, "Jesus, come again into my life in a fresh and new way.  Refresh me again and remind me what it means to be a follower of you and your teachings."

The verse that stands out to me from the gospel reading from Luke is verse 13, "But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me."   In the middle of all the "stuff" that this passage says is presently happening and will happen in the future…we will have the opportunity to tell people about Jesus.

In the midst of the violence and the struggle and the hatred, we will have an opportunity to tell them about Jesus, who shows us a much different way.  Instead of acting out of hatred, Jesus teaches us to act out in love…even to our enemies.  Instead of asserting our own power and authority, Jesus teaches us to put others before ourselves.  Instead of the violence that so easily can overtake our world, Jesus teaches us the way of peace.

Do you see what is happening here?  Jesus teaches us that God's ways are not the way us humans have done things.  And isn't God's way a much better way?

"Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a hunger for peace: peace in the world, peace in my home, peace in myself. Amen"