The Third Sunday of Advent | Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 December 2020
This weekend is Saturday the 12 and Sunday the 13 December, the third Sunday of Advent.
John Mark McMillan sings a version of 'Joy to the World'.
The journey continues and we now celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent with Third Isaiah. The exiles have returned to Jerusalem and all will be well. Gaudete Sunday offers us a moment to rejoice, a note of anticipated delight. We are half-way there, and, although it is not downhill all the way, we can add a certain lightness to our step. The shortest day is only a week away and we are promised Light…. Listen now to this weekend’s reading from the Prophet Isaiah.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,because the Lord has anointed me;he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,to bind up the broken-hearted,to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,and the day of vengeance of our God;to comfort all who mourn;I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,my whole being shall exult in my God;for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.For as the earth brings forth its shoots,and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
In truth, the exiles did not find the life they imagined, their dreams came up against obstacles and opposition. For many of us now, at a time when the scripture calls for joy, joy may be the last emotion on our minds. How do you approach this call to rejoice? Where is your heart and spirit at this time? Share these feelings with the Lord with openness and trust.
For Isaiah, there is an element missing from the promise, a personal element. At the time, the Lord’s anointed was the Servant, the one who brought the Good News. As Christians, we recognise this piece of scripture from Jesus’ return to Nazareth, when he stands in the synagogue and reads this portion of Isaiah as it is written, in the first person. As Christians, we know that the work continues and the Good News is as necessary as ever.
Isaiah’s overwhelming energy makes it clear that he writes from an experience of love. The unconditional love of God that is real, delightful and eternal. With the Spirit of the Lord upon him and the desire of the Lord guiding him, he can do anything.
As we listen to the scripture again, try to feel the words coming from your mouth, sense the blessing of the Lord, recognise your unique place in the unfolding process of bringing about the Kingdom of God?
Share with the Lord all that stands in your way and open your heart to God’s blessing. The work continues and we have a part to play.