waiting for Jesus – an Advent-season-prayer-a-day, Day 15, the Third Sunday of Advent, December 17, 2017

Note: Advent, from the Latin, adventus, “coming”, is the Christian season of preparation for Jesus’ birth, the heart of the Christmas celebration, and, according to scripture and the Christian creeds, his second appearance on some future, unknown day and also according to scripture and Christian tradition, his daily coming through the Holy Spirit. Hence, the theme of waiting for Jesus is Advent’s clarion call.

O Lord Jesus, I wait this day for the wonder of Your Witness, in the words of Your lips and in the works of Your life, to Your irrepressible, indefatigable, unconditional, unchangeable Love. O Lord Jesus, by Your Spirit, lead me, guide me that I, more and more, day by day, may…will respond to You and Your irresistible Love by resting my weary and, yea, my warring soul in You.(1) Amen.

 

Footnote:
(1) Here, I think of the words of George Matheson (1882):
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

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waiting for Jesus – an Advent-season-prayer-a-day, Day 14, Saturday, December 16, 2017

Note: Advent, from the Latin, adventus, “coming”, is the Christian season of preparation for Jesus’ birth, the heart of the Christmas celebration, and, according to scripture and the Christian creeds, his second appearance on some future, unknown day and also according to scripture and Christian tradition, his daily coming through the Holy Spirit. Hence, the theme of waiting for Jesus is Advent’s clarion call.

O Lord Jesus, I wait this day for the wonder of Your Weakness; You Who demonstrated Your power through Your broken Body on the cross of Your dying,(1) You Who responded to Your Apostle’s cry of anguish, comforting him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness,” cheering him to “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me!”(2) Why, O why, O Lord Jesus, with the wondrous witness of Your power in Your long-suffering and hard-dying, does this world, Your World continue to follow not You, but its own will and way, thus, suffering long and dying hard in the belief that power is only demonstrated through bellicose words and weapons of bullets and bombs? O Lord Jesus, by Your Spirit, I pray You, in the words of the hymn:

Heal Thy children’s warring madness
Bend our pride to Thy control
Shame our wanton, selfish gladness
Rich in things and poor in soul
Grant us wisdom, Grant us courage
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.(3)

Amen.

 

Footnotes:
(1) 1 Corinthians 1.18-25
(2) 2 Corinthians 12.9
(3) Words by Harry Emerson Fosdick (1930)

 

waiting for Jesus – an Advent-season-prayer-a-day, Day 13, Friday, December 15, 2017

 

Note: Advent, from the Latin, adventus, “coming”, is the Christian season of preparation for Jesus’ birth, the heart of the Christmas celebration, and, according to scripture and the Christian creeds, his second appearance on some future, unknown day and also according to scripture and Christian tradition, his daily coming through the Holy Spirit. Hence, the theme of waiting for Jesus is Advent’s clarion call.

O Lord Jesus, I wait this day for the wonder of Your World; for You are the divine logos, the all-creating, ever-animating Word. Yet so easily, without conscious thought, I, a sensate creature, claim and use all about me as mine own. How might my life, how might I be different (yea, though I pose a question, truly, I declare that I would be different!) if I daily thought and felt, intended and acted believing, knowing that this was, is Your world and all things therein? O Lord Jesus, by Your Spirit, breathe into me the words of Your evangelist John that they may be and become for me my daily meditative mantra, yea, my daily hymn of praise: All things came into being through (You), and without (You) not one thing came into being.(1) Amen.

 

Footnote:
(1) John 1.3

waiting for Jesus – an Advent-season-prayer-a-day, Day 12, Thursday, December 14, 2017

Note: Advent, from the Latin, adventus, “coming”, is the Christian season of preparation for Jesus’ birth, the heart of the Christmas celebration, and, according to scripture and the Christian creeds, his second appearance on some future, unknown day and also according to scripture and Christian tradition, his daily coming through the Holy Spirit. Hence, the theme of waiting for Jesus is Advent’s clarion call.

O Lord Jesus, I wait this day for the wonder of Your Warning: “Keep awake!” For You, O Lord Jesus, hath come first in Your birth, and since, promising to return in glory to judge the living and the dead. Yet You know how much that I, wedded to my life in this world that I claim as mine own, turn my attention to the things of this realm of time and space and forget to watch for signs of Your second coming. Is it possible, O Lord Jesus, that Your warning, “Keep awake!”, is, yes, about Your call to me to watch for Your reappearance, yet also about my daily vigilance, in the words of my lips and the deeds of my life, to greet Your daily coming into Your world? If that be so, O Lord Jesus, by Your Spirit, daily breathe into my consciousness Your gracious Warning: “Keep awake!” Amen.

 

Footnote:
(1) Mark 13.37 (Mark 13.1-37)

who are we?

a homily, based on John 1.6-8, 19-28 and Isaiah 61.1-4, 8-11, preached with the people of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Clinton, SC, and Epiphany Episcopal Church, Laurens, SC, at the joint Advent service on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

“Who are you?”

Saint John the Baptist and the Pharisees (Saint Jean-Baptiste et les pharisiens), 1886-1894, James Tissot (1836-1902)

The priests and Levites from Jerusalem, intrigued by this strange man who stepped out of the wilderness proclaiming a prophetic message of One who was coming, asked, “Who are you?” John answered, equally intriguingly, not by saying, “I am…”, but rather confessing, declaring, “I am not the Messiah or Elijah, whom Malachi, 400 years earlier, had prophesied would return(1) or the prophet whom Moses once promised would come who, as he, would be a lawgiver.(2)

John’s testimony, thereby, bore witness to this reality: A statement of one’s authentic, God-borne, Spirit-breathed identity is as true in declaring what…who one is not as it is to proclaim who one is. Verily, saying who one is not may be more true, for, in the words of the Apostle, we see in a mirror, dimly,(3) unable to know ourselves fully. (Thus, truth be told, whenever we say, “I am…”, perhaps, at best, it’s an educated guess!)

This issue of our identity is echoed in Isaiah, who, 2500 years ago, on behalf of the people Israel, freed from their Babylonian captivity to journey for a second time to the Promised Land, declared “the Spirit of the Lord…has anointed me…to bring good news to the oppressed…to proclaim liberty to the captives…release to the prisoners.” So momentous was this God-borne, Spirit-breathed vocation that surely you and I, if asked, “Is this you?” might be quick to say, “I am not!”

Ah, but we need to reconsider. For it is no surprise that Jesus, the One John proclaimed was coming, used these very words on that sabbath day in the synagogue in Nazareth to inaugurate his ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…”(4)

Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue (Jésus dans la synagogue déroule le livre) (1886-1894), James Tissot (1836-1902)

Thus, it cannot, must not be a surprise to us – as Jesus, who already hath been born, who hath performed his earthly ministry, who hath been arrested and tried, crucified and raised from the dead, who hath ascended on high to sit down at the right hand of God to come again to judge the living and dead, and who hath sent his Spirit to abide within us with divine presence and power that we might proclaim liberty to the oppressed, brokenhearted, and captive – that we, yea, even we are those who, to the question, “Who are you?” dare can answer, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon us!”

 

Illustrations:
Saint John the Baptist and the Pharisees (Saint Jean-Baptiste et les pharisiens) (1886-1894), James Tissot (1836-1902)
Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue (Jésus dans la synagogue déroule le livre), James Tissot

Footnotes:
(1) Malachi 4.5-6
(2) Deuteronomy 18.15-18
(3) 1 Corinthians 13.12
(4) Luke 4.14-21

waiting for Jesus – an Advent-season-prayer-a-day, Day 11, Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Note: Advent, from the Latin, adventus, “coming”, is the Christian season of preparation for Jesus’ birth, the heart of the Christmas celebration, and, according to scripture and the Christian creeds, his second appearance on some future, unknown day and also according to scripture and Christian tradition, his daily coming through the Holy Spirit. Hence, the theme of waiting for Jesus is Advent’s clarion call.

O Lord Jesus, I wait this day for the wonder of Your Weal. As Your Apostle, in his suffering service in Your Name, exclaimed, “I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body,”(1) and as Francis,(2) beholding a vision of an angel crucified, was marked with Your stigmata, so, this day, O Lord Jesus, I will to bear on my mind and heart, soul and spirit the signs of Your suffering. By Your Spirit make me more deeply aware of the pain of life of the dispossessed and disenfranchised, the least of Your sisters and brothers for whom Your Love is greatest.(3) By Your same Spirit, move me, in my suffering for them as You suffer for them, to crucify my selfish want and need. Amen.

 

Footnotes:
(1) Galatians 6.17
(2) St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)
(3) See Matthew 25.34-40

waiting for Jesus – an Advent-season-prayer-a-day, Day 10, Tuesday, December

Note: Advent, from the Latin, adventus, “coming”, is the Christian season of preparation for Jesus’ birth, the heart of the Christmas celebration, and, according to scripture and the Christian creeds, his second appearance on some future, unknown day and also according to scripture and Christian tradition, his daily coming through the Holy Spirit. Hence, the theme of waiting for Jesus is Advent’s clarion call.

O Lord Jesus, I wait this day for the wonder of Your Wrath. Yea, O Lord Jesus, I laud Your Welcome, yet I dare not forget Your Wrath; You Who, angered by the desecrating exploitation of Your Father’s House, cleansed the Temple.(1) As Your Apostle identified the body of the Christian community, verily, the bodies of Christians as temples of the Holy Spirit,(2) by Your same Spirit, consume with cleansing fire all dross within me that dishonors my creation in the imago Dei that I may glorify Your Father, my God in my living. Amen.

 

Footnotes:
(1) Matthew 21.12-17; Mark 11.15-19; Luke 19.45-48; John 2.13-16
(2) 1 Corinthians 6.12-20