Second before Advent

13th November 2022

Reflection (readings follow on below)

“Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.”

We often hear in the media of giving fatigue. I am sure that there are times when it feels like just another ask to give to another worthy while cause. Or maybe the fatigue comes from realising that this is the nth time we have been asked to give to solve this problem, and our fatigue is also tinged by a feeling that what we give is never going to make a difference. It is the same with volunteering – volunteering fatigue when you feel you’re always who steps up and that others are not pulling their weight. Or you willingness to volunteer may be disillusioned because you feel that the way others are tackling the problem is the wrong way.  

Sometimes our commitment becomes jaded because we just can envisage how we can ever make a meaningful difference. We would prefer fast results, quick and easy solutions. We want the future outcome to be clearly visible now. We don’t have the patience or the faith to let situations evolve towards an as yet unknown solution.

When we are impatient or jaded, or indeed, when we are working frantically eyes down, we loose track of the meaning of life. We loose sight of why we doing things and of what our role is in creation. We forget that we are the product of God’s creative being, that our life comes from God and that our lives are to be .over in response to God. We forget that God loves us and desires a deep and loving relationship with us. We forget that God not only loves us, but loves all creation. We forget that God created the world as a whole to evolve and live together in harmony. We forget that God is our stay, our help, our means of strength and wisdom. Time spent with God is not wasted. Time spent in admiration of and coexistence with the beauty of creation is not time wasted. Time spent praising God and recognising where things are going well, is not time wasted. Being patient is not time wasted. Being active for care of God’s creation – for care of God’s beloved – is not time wasted.

Today is a ‘rest’ day for the participants of COP27, a day without formal meetings and agendas. It is a pause before the hard week to come when everyone will be busy trying to pull together strands of discussion, agreements and finances that hopefully will protect the world and all its inhabitants from a worsening future. Pray hard for a good, God-desired, outcome.

Malachi 4:1-2a

See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.

Psalm 98

1 Sing to the Lord a new song, *
for he has done marvellous things.

2 With his right hand and his holy arm *
has he won for himself the victory.

3 The Lord has made known his victory; *
his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.

4 He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel, *
and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

5 Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands; *
lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.

6 Sing to the Lord with the harp, *
with the harp and the voice of song.

7 With trumpets and the sound of the horn *
shout with joy before the King, the Lord.

8 Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, *
the lands and those who dwell therein.

9 Let the rivers clap their hands, *
and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord,
when he comes to judge the earth.

10 In righteousness shall he judge the world *
and the peoples with equity.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

Luke 21:5-19

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, Jesus said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, `I am he!’ and, `The time is near!’ Do not go after them.

“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.”

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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