Advent 2nd Sunday: Year C [13DEC12] Theme for week 2—Preparation & Love
Readings: Psalm 37:1-18, 19-41 ◊ Isaiah 7:1-9 ◊ 2 Thess. 2:1-12 ◊ Luke 22:1-13
”Prepare the way of the Lord…”
How do we prepare for the Eternal, Immortal, God of all Creation, the One who condescended and emptied Himself to take on the form of human flesh? While we confess the reality of this great mystery, even claiming this God lives “within” us, I wonder how different our actions and attitudes might be if we were able to sit in His physical presence… not like one of the disciples, but like Isaiah in his great vision (Isaiah 6:1-3).
It is hard to imagine the splendor and the glory of that God wrapping himself in the flesh of a helpless baby. It is hard for me to imagine that same splendor and glory taking up residence in me in the form of the Holy Spirit. What I find even more convicting is how easy it is for me to take for granted this miracle that I so often cavalierly claim as my own. It is not that I intend to take this wonder for granted, but I think the greater tragedy is that I probably don’t even begin to fathom the power of God that guides me from within. I say I do; get it, but I doubt seriously that I do when I really begin to ponder the richness of it all… like now.
“Prepare the way of the Lord…”
I want to prepare the way of the Lord. I want my life to be made fully whole in all that God has prepared for me and made the way for me to be—fully reconciled, fully restored—in this way I will become His blessing to every circle of influence I am a part. My joy will be complete. His joy will be complete. I wonder how I do this… How do I overcome my frailty and my doubt?
Then the LORD said, “Tell him to stop worrying… Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.” -Isaiah 7:3-4, 9
This is the x-factor; my faith is the key to becoming all the things God has intended for me. My faith will help me to prepare the way of the Lord. My faith will compel me to action. My action will set course for disciplines in my life that will help to crucify old habits and frail natures in me that inhibit and slow my progress in transformation to the image of Christ. The Spirit that lives within me is the same God Whom Isaiah saw seated on the throne in his vision. This Holy power within me is stronger than any of the fleshly will that has ever existed in me… my faith must be firm and my will resolute to answer “yes” always to the God who guides me.
“God is… the supreme and ever-present factor in every situation.” -Evelyn Underhill
4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. 5 Commit everything you do to the LORD, trust him, and he will help you. 7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. 8 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. 23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their life. 24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. (Psalm 37)
Unknowable One, we stand before you, hardly daring to look up. We offer you our hearts, and pray that we may, this day and ever, worship you in ways that are true. Forgive us those days when we have worshiped false and faulty images we have shaped. Help our frail senses, that we may apprehend your Presence and your Love.
Come, Creator Spirit, Paraclete, gift of God most high, visit the souls of your people, and fill with supernal grace the hearts which you created.
Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. We humbly ask this, O Holy God, in whom we live and move and have our being. Remember us, both now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.