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In this reading, "the Lord whom you are seeking" (CEB) is said to be like both the heavenly embodiment of the purifier as well as the agents of purification in and of themselves. This Lord—Jesus—is beyond comparison in power and ability, as well as deeply engaged in the needs that...

God, guide us closer to perfection so that our minds find clarity, our bodies are healthier by your grace, the spirit within reflects the depths of your presence, and others near and far know you through us. Give us the courage to come face-to-face with our past, knowing that the present and future in Christ are full of hope for a good and righteous way of living. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
November 29–December 5, 2021
Scripture Overview

The prophet Malachi speaks of a future day when God’s messenger will come to prepare the way for the Lord. The Lord will then purify the people and restore proper worship of God. Christians believe that John the Baptizer was this messenger, preparing the way for Christ. In Luke 1, the Holy Spirit fills Zechariah, John’s father, who proclaims that the fulfillment of God’s promises to their descendants has begun. Luke continues the story of John in chapter 3, describing John’s ministry of calling people to repentance. They need to prepare the way of the Lord in their own hearts, thus fulfilling Malachi’s prophecy. Paul in Philippians focuses not on the advent of Christ but on the ongoing power of Christ’s presence to make us blameless and righteous in God’s sight.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Malachi 3:1-4. How have you encountered the refiner’s fire? What was your experience?
Read Luke 1:68-79. In what ways have you experienced God’s tender mercy in your life?
Read Philippians 1:3-11. How do you make expressing your gratitude for others a daily habit?
Read Luke 3:1-6. How are you preparing the way of the Lord? What crooked paths are you helping to make straight?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I looked forward to each session of the 2021 Spiritual Formation in Today’s World, and I still consider it a sacred time in my life. It renewed my love for myself, strengthened my love for God, and inspired my love for others.” Read more...