Fourth Sunday of Advent (C)

Call to Worship based on Luke 1:39-55

God of hope and expectation
Your promises call to us
from the future you have prepared,
call to us from the fullness of time,
inviting us, and whetting our appetite
for good things.
Already we feel your new life taking shape;
We long to meet that new life face to face.
Let us welcome the transformation
God is bringing to light!
Let us worship God!

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His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.

Luke 1:50

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Recalled – a thought on sending the rich away empty …

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Image: “Advent 01-12-2012” by Liesel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2 responses to “Fourth Sunday of Advent (C)”

  1. Earlier this morning I became absorbed in contemplation of Psalm 29, which also speaks of the fear of the LORD. “Ascribe to the LORD, you sons of gods, glory and strength”(v.1) leads to a series of ascriptions to the power of “the voice of the LORD.” The voice of YHWH breaks the cedars of Lebanon, splits the flames, shakes the wilderness, makes the oak trees writhe, and strips the forest bare.

    Which “gods?” I asked. It lead me to pondering that psalmist might find humorous, ill-informed, or off-course. We are now past the point of climate departure. There is no way back. The relation of God and Nature is a long debated question with no clear answers. Yet in 2021 I can’t help but think of climate devastation brought about by the “gods” of greed, wealth, and power which Bill Stringfellow so masterfully described as imposters or surrogates of God.

    The Reformed theological tradition lives in the tension between the joyful proclamation that Earth is “the theater of God’s glory” and the sobering recognition that the world is “a workshop for the perpetual creation of idols.”

    Nothing quite compares with Mary’s Song as witness to the exercise of YHWH’s power and might, already here yet still to come. “His mercy is on those who fear Him.” The “fear of the LORD” has all but disappeared in Western culture. It may be that it’s making a come back in the shuddering prospect of humankind’s murder-suicide of climate departure and climate change denial.

    So much of what goes on in Advent is not expectation, hope, or fear, but instead a premature celebration of Christmas. Advent is not prelude to the birth in Bethlehem; it’s a time of longing between the coming of Christ and the Second Coming — the kind of faith represented by the empty chair for Elijah at the Seder meal. It’s a Yogi Berra theology and practice: It ain’t over ’til it’s over!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gordon, this is so true! The “next year in Jerusalem” flavor of Shirley Erena Murray’s hymn Star Child – “this year, this year, let the day arrive / when Christmas comes for everyone, everyone alive” – echoes that and has been very much with me this year. Thank you for this meditation on Advent desire. Maranatha!

      Liked by 1 person

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