Second Sunday of Advent
December 6, 2020
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85: 1-2,8-13
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-15a
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
We Can Not Lose Hope
God’s people are comforted……
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. (Isaiah 40:1-11)
In this and every Advent season, we focus on the promise that God made to his people and how that promise was fulfilled in Jesus.
Change is among us in this time of Advent expectation. Many of us may have already experienced the kinds of change that faith can bring, but that doesn’t mean the change is over.
Yes, a year older this Advent season, one more year of knowledge, another year immersed in the life of faith. A year of uncertainty, loss, isolation, suffering for so many.
Advent is a reminder that change is upon us, and while those changes may cause some temporary tears, they also will have moments of joy!
Advent is also that unchangeable season when the same concepts, the same words rise over and over again, year after year, to challenge our hearts and minds. I can honestly say, mine has been challenged this year. I do however find comfort in God!
With the year we have had in 2020, it has been a challenge for all of us, learning new ways of worship.
The Old Testament in Isaiah, he tells the people of Israel that they will be Comforted,
A voice cries out: In the wilderness and prepares the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
The Lord is going to come and free them again, from the suffering and their anguish, the Lord will once more rule over them, as a compassionate shepherd.
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
John the Baptist
The Second Sunday in Advent and our attention is turned to John the Baptist in our Gospel reading today.
John the Baptist is the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth who preached a message of repentance and salvation, John saw himself as a forerunner of God’s promise of the savior of the world, who will be coming.
John is the last of the old covenant prophets. Since he was in his mother’s womb, he was chosen by God and he has been expecting Jesus, so why shouldn’t he be the one in Advent to help us prepare the way?
Mark, gets right to the point, He takes a page from Isaiah and says…
The Beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God….As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “ Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
We all know John was different, a man that was quirky, that dressed different and he preached up a storm, you better repent and clean your life up, that was your only hope to be saved. Get baptized now, before it’s too late! It worked, he scared people, some thought he was Elijah coming back from the grave and some thought maybe he was the Messiah that had been promised to them, but John wouldn’t have it.
“I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Good News we have Hope:
Advent and Christmas calls us to praise God as we actively await the coming of Christ, prepare our hearts and lives for his arrival, and claim and celebrate the new hope we have in Jesus Christ.
God didn’t come into this world with a fortune of money and power and influence, God chose to become human and live among us and the Savior of the world was born a vulnerable child.
We are now in the second Sunday of Advent we hear from the prophet Isaiah, who God had spoken to and Isaiah speaks tenderly to Jerusalem… “Comfort, O Comfort my people, “says you God.
Psalm :85: 8,10
I will listen to what the Lord God is saying, *for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him.
Mercy and truth have met; *righteousness and peace have kissed each other
This is a time, where we can change our own behavior, as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ our savior, we face our own failures, fears and sins. It is a time that we need to help those who are suffering and we can’t be much help to them, if we have not faced our own sins and failures.
Comfort, O comfort my people! God hears your prayers, he hears and knows your pain, he will lead you through the wilderness and prepare you for the day the Lord comes again.
God knows how much people have suffered and how many have suffered a loss of a loved one, but he has not left their side, he suffers with us.
I had to remind myself during this past year and just recently, just how much I need God, how much I need to listen to him and remember that he is in charge of my life.
Each year we realize that this ever-changing world. So, we change and renew new ways to live a life that maybe we are not accustom too and it’s difficult to change. But we have to change and grow and that is how we learn to draw closer to God, without difficulty and suffering, we can’t learn from our past.
St. Peter scripture says:
“What sort of persons ought you to be…. in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for the hastening the coming of the day of God.”
Open your hearts to change and know that God hears your cries, but also knows that just like he tenderly comforted his people of Jerusalem, he will comfort us.
The greatest gift of all was Jesus Christ, God himself, come to earth because he loved us. Nothing else compares. But he also brought other gifts. He brought hope and peace.
The Reverend Lola Culbreath