Sunday, December 6, 2009

2nd Sunday of Advent - Reflections

I've added another book to my Sunday readings. I wasn't looking for anything else to read but stumbled upon this while walking through the store. It's the Ancient Christian Devotional: A Year of Weekly Readings edited by Cindy Crosby. The clincher for me to buy it was that it follows the lectionary cycle C.

I've decided to follow the Revised Common Lectionary for my Scripture readings. I want to allow more time to meditate on the passages I read instead of trying to get too "ecumenical" by following the readings from other traditions (even if they don't vary by much). This week the readings were as follows:

Malachi 3:1-4 or Baruch 5:1-9
Luke 1:68-79
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 3:1-6

The themes of preparation and repentance are unmistakable. The ESV Study Bible text note on Mal. 3:1 says "From the 'delight' mentioned in this verse, it appears that Israel had repeated the error of their forebears in the days of Amos (Amos 5:18) by supposing that the Lord's appearance would be unmitigated good news. When he comes, it will be not only for blessing, as they assume, but also for judgment--he will come to be a 'witness' (the term in Mal. 3:5 is the same as in 2:14) against all evildoers, including these blasphemous cynics!"

May God prepare our hearts and cleanse them with a refiner's fire as we await his coming. I leave you today with this prayer from Origen as found on the back of The Ancient Christian Devotional.

"Lord, inspire us to read your Scriptures and meditate on them day and night. We beg you to give us real understanding of what we need, that we in turn may put its precepts into practice. Yet we know that understanding and good intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your graceful love. So we ask that the words of Scriptures may also be not just signs on a page but channels of grace into our hearts."

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