Monday in the Second Week of Advent
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Opening Sentence – (In the preparation days of Celtic Advent)
+ We have waited long for You. Deep has been our darkness.
+ We long for You to shine right here among us where we are.
+ We will not fear the shadows that surround us if only You will come among us!
+ We wait for the sound of a cry in the night, the joy that follows pain, the coming of hope.
Reading: Psalm 85:9-14 (NLT)
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.
Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.
Reading: Isaiah 35:1-10 (NLT)
Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.
And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there. Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it. Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
Reading: Luke 5:17-26 (NLT)
One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
Mighty God: prepare our hearts to celebrate the humble birth of your Son, Jesus Christ, whose glorious return is certain –
+ Fill us with a proper sense of humility and reverence at the wonder of it all
+ Transform us with your unfailing love and truth, your righteousness and peace
+ Display your glory and open our eyes to your splendor
+ Strengthen us and encourage us in our weakness
Mighty God: your day of salvation is near; come and save us, and crown us with everlasting joy – in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Mighty to Save – Hillsong United
Make your heart ready for the King of Glory to come in. Pray: come dwell among us and be my peace today.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holly Spirit. Amen!