The lessons for the Second Sunday of Advent continue the theme of patient waiting.
2 Peter 3:8-15a says, “we wait for new heavens and a new earth…” and while waiting “we strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish…”
Are we at peace; that is the first question we ask ourselves this Sunday.
In the Collect we pray for grace to heed the warnings of God’s messengers the prophets, to seek repentance, forsake our sins and prepare the way for our salvation, which is precisely what we are patiently waiting for. Prophecy comes to us in many different ways. Indeed, we do get a message from the signs of our times. The second question on this Sunday is: Are we heeding the message of the signs?
The Epistle Reading (2 Peter 3:8-15a) says, “the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire”. This is not literal, but there are signs around us giving us a message about our state of affairs.
In our striving to be found at peace, the prophet Isaiah, in the First Reading – 40:1-11 – calls for every valley to be lifted up and every mountain and hill to be lowered, uneven ground to be evened out and rough places made smooth. The third question for this Sunday is: what mountains, hills, valleys and rough ground are in our lives?
Indeed, our mountains and hills, valleys and uneven ground are the very reason we are not at peace.
Right now, there are protests around the nation because of mistrust with the dispensation of justice. There is a lot of dissatisfaction and frustration with our economic system and the disparity it creates. Around the world – in the Middle East, in Europe, particularly Ukraine, in many parts of Africa – there are political conflicts. Our military machine has not brought us peace; rather it has perpetuated the cycle of violence.
May we truly pray for grace to heed the warnings of prophetic message around us, repent and forsake our sins, and patiently wait for our redemption from every evil that grips us. I would like to conclude with my favorite quote of Joanna Macy who said: “all aspects of the current crisis reflect the same mistake, setting ourselves apart and using others for our gain”.
Let us, this Advent Sunday, begin with that sin.