Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
To hear your voice
To listen deeply to what you say,
To see what you do.
By your Spirit help me
To hear your voice
To see you
Second Sunday of Advent
The lectionary readings for this second week of Advent offer us some help in this business of waking up, of becoming alert to God’s way of doing Christmas. The first thing God does is to take us into the wilderness. Wilderness! What does this barren space have to do with Jesus’ coming? With being awake?
The wilderness–empty, silent–offers us respite from the noise, the voices that lure and enslave us into busyness, anxious shopping, and planning. As we enter the gospel narrative and stand on this barren, rocky ground, we may find ourselves tense, uncomfortable, restless; we are more addicted than we realize to noise, schedule, production—expressions of how driven we are by the powers of consumerism and religious busyness. But as we wait in this vast space we begin to breathe, to feel the tension loosening in our body. Gradually, we settle into being more present in this vast stretch of space.
It is then that we can begin to hear a voice – first distant, then coming closer:
The voice of one crying out
in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight. (Mt.3:3)
And as we wait and watch, a man appears on the horizon, this “voice” crying out in the wilderness: John, son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, waking us up, telling us to be ready, to prepare the way for Jesus to come among us, to remove the clutter from the paths of our life. Hence, our sojourn in the wilderness. Here there is no clutter. Here, there is nothing to come between us and God – except the clutter within our soul. And in time we become aware of the Spirit of God at work—sifting through the pieces, washing the lens of our soul, helping us to see the inner ‘stuff’ for what it truly is.
Other ancient voices sound in this wilderness meeting place: the psalmist and Isaiah.
Side by side they lead us into “the way of the Lord,” give us guidance as to what “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ” is about:
He is One who rules with justice, even the poor.
He defends the cause of the poor of the people, and
gives deliverance to the weak and needy when they call,
because their lives are precious in his sight.
He is the One who, in his all-knowing goodness, crushes all that is
oppressive within us, and like rain that falls on mown grass,
sees his peaceful ways flourish among and within us.
The spirit of Jahweh rests on this coming One,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might.
His delight is in reverence and love for Jahweh.
In his gracious kingdom, all of life is transformed:
children are now safe,
the wolf and the lamb can now live together
the calf and the lion are at peace, and nap side by side.
None will hurt or destroy where this One makes his dwelling place,
for the earth will then be full of the knowledge of Jahweh
as the waters cover the sea.
Guidance for solitude and reflection
Hence, our need of wilderness during this Advent season, both the small and longer breaks we take across the day and night to withdraw from the noise and the rush, and to enter once more into this desert space of the gospel narrative. Here we can be still, here we can become present for God, here we receive guidance. Here our inner soul is tended, our mind and heart changed, our desires transformed. The way of the world begins to lose its hold. We are becoming awake and ready
for God coming among us in Jesus.
You come to us
In the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Help me to be present to you –
To be with you,
To listen —
With the ears of my heart.
Continue to free me from the stuff of this world, which holds me captive.
Lead me in your Way of life.
Prayer before reading:
Help me to hear your call
Wake me up
Help me to wait
By your Spirit, may I hear
Help me to be awake for the visitation of your messengers,
And ready for how you come
As a baby
As our Savior.
Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
- 11/29 Monday: Matthew 3:1-3
- 11/30 Tuesday: Matthew 3:4-12
- 11/24 Wednesday: Psalm 72
- 11/25 Thursday: Romans 15:4-13
- 11/26 Friday: Isaiah 11:1-10
- 11/27 Saturday: Matthew 3:1-3
- 11/28 Sunday: Matthew 3:4-12