Second Sunday of Advent (December 7, 2008)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Is. 40:1-11; Ps. 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Pet. 3:8-15a; Mk. 1:1-8
Cindy returned from Ohio on Tuesday evening. Later in the week we traveled to Palestine with Rick Janzen, MCC Europe and Middle East Director, to monitor several CIDA-funded projects.
MCC’s Palestine partners are doing impressive work under difficult circumstances. East Jerusalem YMCA operates an exciting women’s training program. We witnessed an engaging soap-making workshop. The Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy trains young adults to be engaged nonviolently in the political process. Wi’am offers mediation services and conflict resolution training for many types of conflict.
The Common Lectionary readings this week are about preparing the way.
The prophet Isaiah cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Is. 40:3). As a result, God will bring justice for the oppressed and God’s glory will be revealed for all people to see (vv.4-5).
The psalmist declares that justice prepares a path for God’s steps (Ps. 85:13).
In the Epistle reading, Peter speaks of preparing the way for Christ’s return. As we wait, we are to lead lives of holiness and godliness (II Pet. 3:11) and to strive to be at peace (v.14).
In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist repeats Isaiah’s cry: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mk. 1:3). This preparation involves proclamation (vv. 3-4), repentance and confession (vv. 4-5), and humility (vv. 7-8).
This week, we witnessed MCC partners in Palestine preparing the way for a more just and peaceful future. In this Advent season, how are we preparing the way for all that God desires to do in our broken world?