+ Behold, our savior will come; you need no longer fear
Reading #1 – Malachi 2:10-3:1;
Reading #2 – Luke 1:5-17
Luke is the only Gospel to tell the story of John the Baptiser’s birth. The writer obviously knew about the prophecies that spoke of Elijah coming before the Messiah, and he wanted to show that John fulfilled these predictions. But John is not the point. From the beginning John’s purpose was to point beyond himself to the Messiah. He was to be the bridge between the Old Testament prophets and the New order which Jesus established. His ministry showed that Jesus’ work was a continuation of the work that God had begun in God’s people in the Old Testament, but also that, in Jesus, God was doing something completely new. John was not called to an easy life.
He was a change agent, and a person who would confront and challenge the forces that divide people from one another and from God. Yet, as we know, he did this job faithfully and prepared the hearts of the people for Jesus’ coming. When we read about angels visiting John’s parents and promising that he would be filled with God’s Spirit from birth, it is easy to feel that his task was unique. In one sense it was. The coming of Christ was a unique moment in history and John’s job was uniquely related to it. But, in another sense, John was a very ordinary person who had done nothing more than respond to God’s call. We are called to prepare our hearts and the hearts of those around for Christ. We are called to challenge the forces that divide us from one another. And we are all called to receive the power of God’s Spirit to be faithful witnesses to Christ. How is God calling you to witness to Jesus today? How can you receive a new infilling of God’s Spirit to empower you?
DO: We are all witnesses to something. Our lives speak whether we want them to or not. The only question is what our lives say. If we are to witness to Jesus, we need the Spirit to empower us to be gracious, loving, humble and serving. Today, invite God’s Spirit to fill you, guide you and empower you again.
PRAY: Come, Holy Spirit, fill me and make my life a witness to Jesus.
PRAY: As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:
Faithful God Hear our Prayer.
For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.
For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.
For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.
For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.
Look with favor, O God.
On all our needs
And hear our pleas when we cry out to you.
Grant to us, the faith of the centurion,
That we might give you glory
For the mercy and compassion
That lifts us up with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever Amen!