Lighting of the Advent Candle and Gathering Prayer
As we light this Advent candle,
may its flame be a light that shines for all to see –
a sign that Jesus is for all.
May we know God’s presence and power as we gather in the name of Jesus,who is the light of the world.
Unfortunately the recording of this reflection is not available
Both of our readings this morning are bringing a message, a warning of who is to come.
Something I have learnt this week is that ‘Malachi’ in Hebrew means ‘my messenger’ and the commentary I was reading suggests it is shortened from meaning ‘messenger from Yahweh’.1 In the reading we heard, a messenger is promised, one that will come to prepare the people, so they are ready for what is to come, a day of judgment we are told in v5. The promise the messenger brings is one of being purified, the sense of removing all that is not of God so the only God bits remain. That is a hard process, for we know that for precious metals to be removed from the ground, they need to go through a process of smelting, of being heated to a very high temperature, so that the impurities are burnt off, leaving the pure precious metal behind. This is the imagery that is used in this passage and there are lots of life experiences that can have a similar effect and whilst going through them can be tough, they can often be a place of growth, of learning to depend on God and one of shaping and changing us.
In the passage from Luke, we are introduced to John, the Baptist, and his ministry. Again one of the things that I have learned, and several commentators have highlighted is that John’s messenger is set in the context of the political and social world of that time and place2, we see this at the start of the passage_ In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,_Wright points out that behind the names and the dates is a story of oppression and misery that is building up to explosion point. The people at that time are longing for a new word from God and it is into this situation that John the Baptism comes declaring that the time has come, that they need to be ready and he preaches baptism for the renewal of their sins and in preparation for Jesus and his upside kingdom that is to come.3
v6 is translated in a number of ways in the NIV version, the one we heard it is “And all people will see God’s salvation” whereas the NRSV translates this as “and all flesh shall see the salvation of the Lord” and Tom Wright “and all that lives shall see God’s rescue” This little word ‘all’ means every part of or every kind of.4 So the reference has a wider meaning and opens this up to the idea that salvation is for the whole of creation not just for a specific group of people. The challenge of John’s message is how do we facilitate or enable access to Jesus to all? We are going to think about this in our next activity.
1Barton and Muddiman (eds.), The Oxford Bible Commentary, (Oxford University Press, 2001: New York) p. 615
2Barton and Muddiman (eds.), The Oxford Bible Commentary, (Oxford University Press, 2001: New York) p. 615 p.930
Hartley, H, Second Sunday of Advent – Luke 3:1-6 in Various, Reflections for Sundays Year C, Church House Publishing, 2018: London) p. 25
3Wright T, Luke for Everyone (SPCK, 2004: London) pp.32-33
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In all these places/ this place may your glory be seen and your love be known.
Merciful, caring God
Hear our prayers.
Diocesan Vision Prayer
Living God, Jesus calls his followers to seek first your Kingdom.
Renew us as we make your love known;
Release us to share freely together in mission;
and Rejuvenate us to be fruitful in your service.
Give us courage, wisdom and compassion,
that strengthened with the grace of the Holy Spirit,
we may, as the Diocese of Sheffield,
both flourish and grow through Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Blessing and dismissal
A Sending out Prayer
May the road we travel be smooth and straight,
every rut filled in, every bump smoothed out,
any diversions easy to navigate,
any obstacles easy to manoeuvre round.
May good companions share our journey,
and may we be voices for good in the world,
a sign of Jesus’ love for all.
We pray in Jesus’ name.
As we await our coming Saviour
go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen
The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.
The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.
“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”