Monday, December 10, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you
have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty
power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and
in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you
all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are
hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your
Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your
holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 126, Isaiah 40:1-11, and Romans 8:22-25
This morning we have two passages that are very appropriate for Advent. The reading from Isaiah is the one John the Baptist quoted in our Gospel lesson yesterday. It is a promise for a bright future. The reading from Romans talks about we eagerly anticipate the coming of Christ and the hope that he brings.
Isaiah’s prophecies come at a time when Israel is very prosperous, yet very worldly. Under King Uzziah, Judah had quickly grown to a point of importance that only Solomon’s kingdom had rivaled. Yet behind the prosperity was corruption, greed, and a failure to live according to God’s laws. They had allowed their wealth to replace their dependence on God. They took advantage of the poor, they fought with each other and with outsiders, and they allowed worship to be replaced by empty ritual.
Isaiah is prophesying that the day will come when there is renewed prosperity, but it will be because of our dependence and obedience to God, not our greed and violence. God will overturn the punishments he has placed on his people and will bless them, for they will have learned to follow only him.
St. Paul follows up on this thought. The world, he wrote, has been in birth pangs until now. The world has been awaiting the coming of the Messiah, the one who will change the whole world and bring all unto himself. We’re right at the cusp of realizing that the kingdom is among us. We’re anticipating – which is exactly what Advent teaches us how to do.
Ask God to help you remain focused on anticipating the coming of his kingdom. Ask him to help you be obedient to his will, not your own greed or selfishness. Write your own prayer.