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SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT

Isaiah 11:1-10
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12
Psalm 72
 
This is day the LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Imagine a stream of sinners flowing toward the River Jordan, hoping to be washed clean once and for all. Perhaps it appears that the whole of Judea joins the procession out to the wilderness where the waters of baptism wait. From the merely curious to the truly sincere, people of . . .

SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT

Isaiah 11:1-10
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12
Psalm 72
 
This is day the LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Imagine a stream of sinners flowing toward the River Jordan, hoping to be washed clean once and for all. Perhaps it appears that the whole of Judea joins the procession out to the wilderness where the waters of baptism wait. From the merely curious to the truly sincere, people of all sorts make up the crowd. We know the words that John the Baptizer addresses to all:  "Repent"  "Prepare." Baptism is a serious commitment to a new way of life.
 
Still, the people come, some of them like wolves, some more like lambs and all drawn by the promise of the nearness of God's reign and the possibility of a fresh start.
 
Today we come to worship from many households and an unending variety of experiences.  As we draw nearer to our worship space, we form a stream that flows through the doors.  As we go inside, our hearts are a mix of sincere and ambivalent impulses.  We are capaable of making peace together or distroying it. Yet, out of profound hope we make the effort to gather.
 
Together we acknowledge our need for mercy, realizing that we are not isolated in shame or by need--it is possible for us to repent. As we hear the words of forgiveness, the Spirit of the LORD comes to rest upon us and strengthen us.
 
Christian friends, Advent is about promises. We are invited to trust the promise that the world can be changed and that our lives can be transformed. God in Christ is coming into our hearts and will strip away all doubt and despair. In gratitude and humility we pray: "E'en so, LORD Jesus, quickly come."
 
      Our sinful ways can sap our joy
      And isolate us from the LORD;
      Confession and repentance, though,
      Provide the way to be restored. 

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