Watching for the morning of December 8
The Second Sunday of Advent
In this second Sunday in the season of Advent, the themes of hope and promise join with the call to prepare for the marriage of heaven and earth, the joining of the realm of the divine and the human. John the Baptizer arrives on the scene, herald of the anointed one, preparing the people to greet God’s dawning kingdom. Baptism is a part of that preparation, being washed, leaving the old behind, allowing the desert dust to be washed from us as we enter anew into the realm of promise. Repentance is the old word for that shift of allegiance, that shift of hope, that shift of values from self-preservation to love, from revenge to forgiveness, from control to trust, from being served to serving.
The governance of God will bring a restoration of right relationships – even among the wild creatures, as proclaimed in Isaiah. It restores right relationships within the human community, uniting all peoples in a common bond of peace – as Paul exhorts the Christian community to recognize and live.
The Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent, 2013
who called forth the first morning of the world
and brings all things to their final end when all night is vanquished,
make us ever mindful of our journey homeward,
and teach us to live your peace;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever
The Texts for the Second Sunday of Advent, 2013
First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” – like new growth from the stump of a felled tree, a new king shall arise from the fallen line of David, a king filled with the Spirit of God, who will govern in righteousness and bring all creation to peace.
Psalmody: Luke 1:68-79 (The Benedictus)
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.” – In place of the appointed Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19, we sing the song of Zechariah, sung at the birth of his son, John, whom we know as John the Baptist, praising God and predicting his role as the one who “will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.”
Second Reading: Romans 15:4-13
“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Speaking to that fundamental divide between observant Judeans and those who had become thoroughly enmeshed in the culture of the Greek world, between ‘Jew’ and ‘Gentile’, Paul calls for the believers to live the reconciliation that has occurred in Christ, giving multiple examples from the Scriptures in support of God’s mission to gather all nations.
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
“In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” – John comes as a prophet of old, heralding the dawning of God’s reign and calling all people to ‘repent’, to turn and show allegiance to God.