This Sunday, here at Society, we kick off our newest teaching series called Prince of Peace. This advent teaching series, Prince of Peace, will explore how Jesus came to our world during a time of cultural confusion and how he still comes to bring clarity today. How he came to Israel during a time of political and racial division and he comes with his kingdom to bring peace today. He came to the least of society, and as the least of society and he still meets us there with his “good news of great joy for all people” today.
Advent Reflection: Week 2 – Preparation
Something is coming. This hope that we reflected on the first week is a hope in something that is coming. With that comes waiting. But this is not the passive waiting of sitting in line expecting your number to be called.
There is work to be done.
A voice is calling in the wilderness, “Clear the way of Yahweh!
Make a highway smooth in the desert for our God!
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill shall become low,
And the rough ground shall be like a plain,
and the suggest ground like a valley-plain.
And the glory of Yahweh shall be revealed,
and all humankind together shall see it.”
This voice is both the herald and the forerunner.
Both announces the coming, and also begins the work that prepares the place for this coming.
There is a call to action.
This arrival is about more than something happening to the people of God.
This arrival will change the people of God completely.
A people who had been beaten down through the generations, every attempt to free themselves of the yoke of Rome was crushed, these people, would become something new.
There would be new life breathed into them.
Just as it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“Behold, I am sending my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
the voice of the one shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths!’”
John was there baptizing in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the Judean region and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem went out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. And John was dressed in camel’s hair and a belt made of leather around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, saying, “One who is more powerful than I is coming after me, of whom I am not worthy to bend down and untie the strap of his sandals. I baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
When Mark picks up the story, he points to the one who raises the cry of Isaiah.
John the Baptizer.
John was a popular figure. Many flocked to him wanting to participate in his movement. But he knew that what he was doing was only the beginning.
And so he did his work while pointing towards what was coming.
He did not want those who saw him to miss what came next.
After all this is what the people of Israel had been waiting for all this time.
John called them to prepare.
John calls us to prepare.
In this second week of Advent we reflect on this preparation. This call to be ready for what we have been hoping for, this arrival.
We prepare so that we might not miss it.
This preparation may look differently for each of us.
For some of us, we may need just a simple reminder to look again towards what is coming. For some of us, we may need to force ourselves to pause, to take a moment and look, or else risk missing it through our busyness.
This what this time in the church calendar is for. This is why we practice Advent. To take time and reflect on where we are at. So that we might prepare ourselves for the hope that is coming.
In this season of hope and anticipation are you ready to receive what is coming?
Is there space in your life for this arrival?
Are there things that you need to remove or replace in your life so that you might be able to better prepare for this newness that has been promised?
Take time in this season to assess where you are at in this. Possibly share with some one. If you need help with making space in your life look for those in your life that may be able to help you whether thats a family member, someone in your community group or a friend.
This is something that you are not going to want to miss.