You are invited to light your home Advent wreath during the Sunday morning liturgy, joining in the blessing printed here. You may also light the wreath in the evenings—before or after the evening meal, or at the end of the day—with one member of the household taking the leader part and the rest joining in the response, or one person reciting the whole blessing.
Leader: Blessed are you, God of hope, for you promise to bring forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse who will bring justice to the poor, who will deliver the needy and crush the oppressor, who will stand as a signal of hope for all people.
As we light these candles, turn our wills to bear the fruit of repentance, transform our hearts to live in justice and harmony with one another, and fix our eyes on the root of Jesse, Jesus Christ, the hope of all nations.
O people of hope, come,
All: let us rejoice in the faithfulness of the Lord. Amen.
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Earliest Christians held the belief that Jesus would return in their lifetime, but by the decade 80-90 C.E. it was a hope that seemed dashed, especially as the still dominant pagan world around them began to criticize their stricter way of life and their anticipated new world of righteousness. The 2nd Letter of Peter is a response to those critics. In the reading for today, Peter reminds the hearers of the birth of the world out of the waters, the flood, and the future that has been reserved for fire. He encourages Christians to stand firm in leading lives of peace, holiness and godliness because of the sure and certain future that was promised them and for which they waited.
Peter could not have possibly understood the science behind the imagery that he used of the heavens being set ablaze and dissolved. But his certain faith in God assured him of the immense power that the creator holds and was able to describe it as he did.
We today have the ability to see into the cosmos which Peter could only imagine. Scientists have observed exploding stars, black holes, and study the vastness of the universe and our place in it. For most of us, it is incomprehensible and we must simply trust that it is so.
Scientists can even look inward and understand on a molecular level the amazing and complicated inner workings of our bodies. We are grateful that they can or we would not have the ability to find medical intervention for the illnesses that pervade our world. If you dare adventure for yourself, click on this link and see. https://www.gettyimages.com/videos/nucleus?phrase=nucleus&sort=mostpopular There is still much we do not understand but we firmly believe that we have been created and declared loved by God and have a purpose in God’s time. Though we do not know when, there is a different future coming and we will be a part of that.
Perhaps during the season of Advent, step away from the busy-ness of decorating, shopping, and wrapping to look up at the magnitude of the heavens on a clear night and wonder what God has next in store for you. Are you listening carefully, are you prepared to respond to a need, have you thought about your “five-year plan” for your life and able to revise it if you need to answer a new call? Your name has been whispered throughout the majesty of all creation since the beginning for such a time as this.