The Second Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Peace on our advent wreath. We hear about how God hopes for us to live peacefully and comforted. John the Baptist is introduced as one who is preparing the way for that peace to come to all humanity. The way it comes is by turning our hearts toward God – repentance. As God’s church, we are the ones who trying to show the world this better way by striving to do our best to live as God intends.
Stir up your power, and come! The psalmist’s plea in Psalm 80:2 has become familiar to us in the Advent prayers. Isaiah wants God to rip the heavens open. Both cry out for an apparently distant, angry God to show up, to save, to restore. When we hear Jesus describing the coming of the Son of Man with stars falling from heaven, it can sound dire and horrible, not like anything we would ever hope for. But when we really look at the suffering of people God loves, we can share the hope that God would tear open the heavens and come.
Worship service for Christ the King Sunday, recorded outdoors at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Santa Cruz, California on November 22, 2020.
Jesus compares himself to a king who moves among his subjects to see how he is treated: what is done for the least of those who belong to his family is truly done for him. Pastor Jim expands on our opportunities to serve “the least of these”.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” This refrain from the Psalm for Sunday summarizes our readings well. It also summarizes our basic approach to life as children of God – children of light as Paul calls us. As we each wait the ultimate fulfillment of God’s grace and love for us, we are given the gift of life to be used and lived well by seeking things like wisdom, truth, and justice for the vulnerable and suffering.
We will gather again this Sunday as we hear passages encouraging us to use our lives with integrity and honesty – seeking justice and God’s ways. We keep awake for God’s presence in surprising and sometimes delayed ways, always trying to keep our lives focused in the Spirit.