Many will come to know Christ in a way that is sudden, as if the messenger were coming for the very first time. Senses will be awakened. Awareness of the reality of God is likely to overwhelm even the formerly faithful who are now back in community with Christ’s church. This grace-laden process makes the scripture real. God’s righteous desires for the people of God will begin to take root with one refining act and cleansing moment after another.

Even when the beginning rush of the reality of Christ seems like more than we can receive, there is a sense of delight available to us. When we give up shaping ourselves, we become open to God’s resting with us and working through us. Yet how do we move forward from the euphoria of knowing and experiencing the initial benefits of God’s sanctifying grace? What does it take to go from that moment to a sustainable endurance of a long-term commitment to Christ? What disciplines will keep us on the path of righteousness? What reinforcement will remind us to stay in the hands of the Divine even when it is not comfortable?

The scripture gives us insight and hope. While we may not be able to define all of the ways that grace abounds in our day-to-day experience, we can trust that God is working, cleansing, refining, and purifying us. We can practice our faith and join in this work by means such as prayer and worship. It is not that we should attempt to be the cause of our own transformation, for that is the work of God. But through our intentional engagement, we make way for God to inspire and influence the next, best steps toward our purification.

Thank you, Lord, for helping us think differently, move daily with purpose, and pray without ceasing. May we follow your call to support one another in being the community of faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 3:1-6

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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.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.