Second Sunday in Advent (December 9, 2012)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Malachi 3:1-4; Phil. 1:3-11; Luke 1:68-79; 3:1-6
Highlights of this week included:
- Attending a lecture by Dr. Amir Akrami, a visiting Iranian professor at Eastern Mennonite University. Dr Akrami’s lecture focused on the Islamic understanding of justice and ethics.
- Sharing dinner with David and Faith Evans (and six-year-old son Solomon) – friends from our days in Washington, D.C. David now teaches at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and Faith runs a small business that focuses on exercise and health.
- Spending a delightful evening with Holden, Heidi and Sydney at their home in Penn Laird.
- Being hosted for dinner by Lynn and Kathleen Roth – long-term MCC friends who now work at EMU.
We came across this “alternative gift” idea for supporting work for justice in Gaza.
In the region this week:
- The Syrian government denied allegations that it plans to use chemical weapons against rebel groups, saying that Western countries are trying to create a pretext for intervention.
- Egyptians gathered in large numbers to protest President Mohammed Morsi’s consolidation of power.
- Kurdish soldiers from northern Iraq and Iraqi Arab soldiers continued to face off in the oil-rich disputed territories at the border between “Kurdistan” and central Iraq.
The Common Lectionary readings this week focus on preparing the way for the Lord.
In the Old Testament reading, God promises to send a messenger to “prepare the way before me.” (Malachi 3:1). The Lord will come as a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap (v.2) to purify the community, turning them from practices of injustice to the fear of the Lord and the practice of justice.
The Gospel readings highlight the ministry of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus. John’s father prophesied at the time of John’s birth: “And you my child . . . will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.” (Luke 1:76-77) Luke quotes Isaiah, describing John’s ministry as: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” (3:4)
Paul prays that the church at Philippi “may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:10-11)
In this season of Advent may we especially prepare the way for the Lord’s coming – accepting God’s refining in our lives, embracing God’s forgiveness and salvation, and producing the fruit of justice in our lives.