Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9 - Second Sunday in Advent

Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C

Malachi 3:1-4

Luke 1:68-79

Philippians 1:3-11

Luke 3:1-6

Today’s Reflection:

The second Sunday in Advent focuses on peace. Today’s passages though, point us to the concepts of repentance and salvation. Both of those concepts challenge us at the core of our daily living – not very peaceful. Which of these do we most seek if a choice is to be made?

 

The early passage from Luke describes the father’s reaction at the birth of his son (John the Baptist). Zechariah reflects on the prophet’s promise that one would come before the Christ. His son fulfilled the destiny to bring the faithful to repentance before the savior came with the offer of salvation – a continuity of the relationship with God.

 

Repentance and salvation are historically connected. Accepting the gift of salvation takes a repentant heart recognizing that one can never do it by one’s own actions. Throughout the Old Testament, prophets called on the people to repent before God intervened to save the people from certain destruction by more powerful enemies threatening the holy land. When the people failed to repent, God failed to intervene. Only after we recognize our limitations are we able to accept God’s limitlessness.

 

Repentance and salvation both challenge our independent nature. They challenge the free-will that makes us in the image of God. Repenting before God forces us to own our imperfection. We have own that regardless of how hard we try, we are independently incapable of living up to God’s standards. Yet despite such failure, God still loves us and gives us the opportunity for salvation. Ultimately, the only thing God asks of us is to accept our place in relation to his place. The ten commandments pale compared to this one, “take your place” demand.

 

The second Sunday in Advent focuses on peace. Today’s passages though, point us to the concepts of repentance and salvation. Both of those concepts challenge us at the core of our daily living – not very peaceful. Yet, the more I reflect on my life, the more I learn I am at my most peaceful when I know who, what, and where I am. When God calls for repentance in return for salvation he guides us to know exactly who, what, and where we are. Repentance followed by salvation does not distress us; it assures us. Nothing is more peaceful than an assurance from God.

Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org