Second Sunday Thoughts and Prayers

 

Hi All and a blessed Second Sunday in Advent to you all,

Today’s Gospel (Luke 3: 1-6) reading brought a number of things to mind and reads in part:

…the word of God came to John the son of Zechari’ah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

*****

First and foremost what came to mind is that Advent while filled with the joy of Christ’s coming birth is meant to be a time of preparation and in most faith traditions preparation involves repentance and making things new.   Through resolve and action we participate in our own spiritual (and perhaps physical)  in house cleaning and renewal.   Taking a look at what we are doing in our lives and how we reflect our faith and beliefs to others is an important task and one God calls us to continually and never more so than at this time of joyful anticipation.    I ask myself if my own heart is ready to receive Christ.  To provide the room at the Inn so to speak. 

 John the Baptist calls us to prepare the way of the Lord and uses the same terms (valley’s filled and mountains brought low) that were used in the Old Testament to describe God’s love and care for Israel as they returned from captivity to the heart of Jerusalem (Baruch 5:1-9) .    Just so would he have us prepare our own hearts for Christ to be reborn there as well as in Bethlehem. 

Hm….leveling hills….perhaps the hills are the barriers I’ve put up with others that keep grace from reaching out and bringing healing and forgiveness.   Pride might indeed be a hill with a need to be brought low.  Self satisfaction might qualify too…..

Since I don’t have a bulldozer handy maybe letters and reaching out can do the work instead.   Words can often help in rebuilding brokeness.  Especially if words contributed to that brokeness.  Even just showing a willingness to be back in connection with others can open doors and lower barriers.

As for valleys…despair is a sin we are often warned against and how often do we hear the words “fear not” throughout scripture.  Valley’s indeed that may need to be filled in….as for the valley’s of others lives perhaps my own actions can help fill theirs and in turn that will help to fill in my own.     Reaching out to other people and people in need can be scary to us sometimes….possibly more because we worry that we could be in that same place with only a small twist of fate than because some people don’t always have the means to stay as clean and tidy as others or because some dress differently or have a different language or have tatoos’ or whatever.   Still fear is often at the root of that uncomfortableness that keeps us from sharing a smile or a hand or a word.   Might be good to remember those words…Fear Not…and not let fear stop us from taking even simple actions.

As I was driving through Medford Friday there was a man sitting by the roadside with a sign asking for a ride but also blessing those who drove by and wishing everyone the best of the season.  Quite a lot to fit in on one sign.  Yes he looked like he’d been living on the street but also cheerful and outgoing with no indication of instability of any kind and yet most people safe in their cars wouldn’t even look at him lest they have to make some acknowledgement.    When I waved and smiled his eyes lit up and we shared a moment of joy and blessing.   He understood perfectly that as a single woman alone in a car I wasn’t likely to offer a ride (not to mention I was going in the wrong direction) but both of us seemed to feel better for acknowledging our joint humanity and a smile and wishes for good.  I know I did.  In the past in similar situations where I too looked away I felt smaller and meaner and less than God called me to be.  Friday I felt joined to another human being and felt blessed not by my very small action but by the acceptance given me of this man in need.    God’s grace came to me through him.   And the feeling of fear and my own need that had been filling my mind before seeing this man was released if only for that moment and joy once again came in.    A wonderful gift.

So much food for thought there….appreciation for God’s boundless love and grace that offers me renewal each time I turn to him seeking to do better.    The example of God’s love for Israel gives me hope.   Even at times when I have earned his chastisement through my own selfishness, lack of caring and centeredness on self instead of others he is still there awaiting my return to him…ready to make smooth the paths before my feet in celebration and rejoicing.  Asking only that in turn I make smooth the paths to others too.   

So much for my muddled musings on this Second Sunday…now I’m off to try and see if I can recreate in some fashion the eCard picture I placed at the top of this post.   I think the picture is that of a rug and since my weaving skills are not up to stars that will look like stars I think paper better be my medium this time.   Hmm….so how many stamp sets do I own that have stars of varying sizes…..might be a good excuse to get that inventory going finally!  I know maybe this will be the inspiration for a week of stars…..perhaps create my very own meteor shower?  I bet the cats would enjoy that.

Advent hugs and blessings my friends – Jean

PS: I hope you are enjoying this weekends blog hops.  I have a second one I’ll be putting up links to in a little bit but for now you can find the start here – http://stampartpapel.blogspot.com/2009/12/que-brille-para-todos-la-alegria-del.html

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