Call to worship

Advent is our time of joyful waiting. John the Baptist reminds us that true joy can only be found when we focus on Jesus.

  • To the point: John’s clear and unequivocal answers to “What should we do?” gave direction to people’s lives. John’s good news, however, went beyond merely telling the people how to behave toward each other, but also instilled expectation in them. His good news pointed to the One who is all Good News, “a mighty savior” who is in our midst (First Reading), who is near (see Second Reading). The Good News is not a message but a person—Jesus.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Luke 3: 10-18) to the first reading: The first and second readings both speak of rejoicing and suggest to us that the cause of our joy is Christ (“in your midst, a mighty savior”; “The Lord is near”). Christ is always being enfleshed in our midst.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: All of us have experienced the sheer goodness of another person, the utter joy of an event, the complete surprise of intimacy. With reflection we conclude that we have indeed experienced the nearness of Christ in the flesh among us.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Luke 3: 10-18)

The crowds … tax collectors … soldiers … asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?

What should we do to ready our hearts
O Lord for your coming? Your Baptist says we must
give away our coat, share our food,
make justice for all.
Lord, baptize us with the fire of your Holy Spirit
burn the chaff from the wheat.
gather us into your kind and loving arms.
Warm our hearts to share your love with everyone.

The First Reading

(Zephaniah 3: 14-18a)

He will sing joyfully because of you.

God’s zeal, God’s joy in us, brings a savior into
our very midst to dwell in us,
to hold out our hands and soften our hearts.
God, our Lord, we love your delight
in the beauty of our days,
in the surprise of our creation,
in the graced lives of the ones we love.
You sing our lives into being.

The Second Reading

(Philippians 4: 4-7)

Then the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds
in Christ Jesus. O People,

Rejoice! In thanksgiving we make our request known to you.
We ask that all refugees find loving homes,
that you help us repair our climate crisis,
end sickness and unemployment,
all violence everywhere and racism.
And, Lord, please, let the peace
that surpasses all understanding
guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection