- Isaiah 2:1-5
- Psalm 122
- Romans 13:11-14
- Matthew 24:36-44
This Sunday we begin a new year. The First Sunday of Advent brings us full circle in the church’s calendar, reminding us that God’s people must live in readiness for that great day to come, when God’s wisdom and presence will be fully revealed. It will be a time of both tremendous hope and promise, but it will also be a time of judgment. Our readings today reflect the Advent themes of light and darkness, salvation, world peace and the Day of the Lord – Jesus’ “Second Coming.” Christians are called to live expectantly. The good news of Christ’s coming again is balanced with the understanding that God comes in judgment. Part of living expectantly is to know that all that is hidden will be revealed.
In our lesson from the Hebrew Bible the prophet Isaiah sets forth a majestic vision of a time when people throughout the world will worship the Lord and live in peace with one another. The mountain of the city of Jerusalem will be raised up to become a symbol of hope and justice to every nation. Many peoples will look to Jerusalem and to its holy Mount Zion as the place from which God will issue God’s word and law, bring about an end to strife and warfare. “Swords into plowshares” is a theme often cited by groups working for peaceful solutions to the world’s problem, including the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.
The season of Advent is a time when the church is called to prepare itself and individuals for baptism on the First Sunday after the Epiphany, the Baptism of our Lord. In Advent, those preparing for their baptism (and their parents and sponsors) are offered a glimpse of God’s ultimate vision for creation and humanity. They are challenged to set life goals around that vision. Advent invites the church to dream of what God’s will being done fully “on earth as it is in heaven” might mean in light of Jesus’ words acts.
- How do the routines of your daily life influence your ability to hear God – especially at this very busy time of year?
- Paul tells us to put on the “armor of light.” How can we prepare for an event when we do not know when or how it will occur? How can we live fully in the present yet anticipate the future?
- According to today’s readings, what should our conduct and actions be as we prepare for the return of Jesus?
- Advent: Preparing Our Hearts for the Future (godspace.wordpress.com)
- Institute for Peace and Justice offers resources for children and youth, including the Pledge of Nonviolence and Peace Papers, a weekly Sunday worship bulletin for children