- Isaiah 35:1-10
- Psalm 146:4-9
- James 5:7-10
- Matthew 11:2-11
Advent is also a desert time. But soon joy shall come, as written in this Hebrew traditional song:
Joy shall come even to the wilderness, And the parched land shall then know great gladness; As the rose, as the rose shall deserts blossom, Deserts like a garden blossom. For the living springs shall give cool water, in the deserts streams shall flow, For living springs shall give cool water, in the desert streams shall flow.
John is the herald of the coming of the Lord. Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God by everything that he said and did. We pray for God’s kingdom to come every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer.
The Baptismal Covenant provides the vision for the baptized: Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching . . . persevere in resisting evil . . . proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ . . . seek and serve Christ in all persons . . . strive for justice and peace among all people? (BCP 304-305)
It is living out this covenant call that the church responds to the questions raised by John today, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” (Matthew 11:13). The first reading and the today’s gospel lie behind the church’s call to be deeply involved in the ministry of service and justice. The church continues in the role of Jesus, pointing out God’s coming reign in such actions.
A responsive prayer from the Iona Community Worship Book
The desert will sing and rejoice and the wilderness will blossom with flowers; and will see the Lord’s splendor, see the Lord’s greatness and power.
Tell everyone who is anxious: Be strong and don’t be afraid. The blind will be able to see; the deaf will be able to hear; the lame will leap and dance; those who can’t speak will shout.
They will hammer their swords into ploughs and their spears into pruning-knives; the nations will live in peace; they will train for war no more.
This is the promise of God; God’s promise will be fulfilled.
- Compare Isaiah 35:1-10 with Jesus’ response to John (Matthew 11:4-6).
- God ‘s true nature was shown in the world through the actions of Jesus.
- To what does Jesus appeal to convince people of his authenticity? What can we “see” and “hear” with our own eyes and ears about Jesus?
- How are we called to continue Christ’s work in the world today?
- What counsel does the Letter to James (5:7-10) offer us today as we await the second coming of Jesus?