Photo by Kathy Bozzuti-Jones
Rejoicing is a thread that connects Sunday’s Advent 3 readings — joy of the exiles returning to Jerusalem; joy in Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians (to rejoice, pray and give thanks in all circumstances); joy in the promise of the imminent arrival of the Messiah; and joy in the Magnificat of Mary.
In Mary’s song of praise, sung at the jubilant meeting with her cousin Elizabeth in Luke’s Gospel, Mary rejoices over God’s mysterious workings in her life, while recalling the myriad ways in which God’s mercy has been manifest in every generation. She sings of a great leveling as well; Mary sings of justice as right relationship, in the sense that all have enough to eat and none go hungry — where those who had been made poor from the greed of others have the right to eat and be satisfied.
Mary sings both an indictment of our times and a vision of new possibility beyond the individualism, hoarding, indifference, and greed, working against notions of common good. May her song lift weary spirits and enkindle courage and perseverance among all who work for justice. May her rejoicing be our rejoicing.
Loving God, Light of the world, help us to testify to your light
by seeking to live in right relationship with You and with one another.
Help us to recognize You in our midst and rejoice in Your divine presence.
Grateful are we for Your providential care and indwelling spirit.
Blessings and Peace,
Questions for reflection:
- How are we to cultivate an open and generous heart that seeks right relationship with God and one another?
- Where is your greatest cause for joy in this difficult pandemic year and how can we share it with others?
- Advent Prayers & Devotions from the Rev. Matt Welsh and the Faith Formation & Education team
- In Sunday’s lectionary, the Epistle to the Thessalonians reminds us to “pray without ceasing.” These “Pillowcase Prayers,” encouraging evening prayers, are a lovely idea for children and adults alike, bringing prayer into even our dreaming hours
- As we continue to meditate on gratitude in light of the wisdom of Diana Butler Bass, this blog on the connection between gratitude and prayer reminds us of practical ways to count our blessings even in hard times
- The great theologian Reinhold Niebuhr is famous for his serenity prayer, but consider some of the other prayers he composed, urging us to pray for all those seeking justice in the world
- Family Worship: Home Edition
Join us Sundays at 10am for Children’s Time. We’ll start with a brief opening assembly together and then, each week, children can choose from two different breakout groups. Children’s Time has moved to Zoom, so please register to receive the new meeting link, if you haven’t already.
Godly Play — (Preschool through 5th grade, 30 minutes)
We’ll hear the Advent III Story and build the nativity. Bring paper or cardstock, writing and drawing utensils, craft sticks, and glue.
Whole People of God — (2nd through 5th grade, 30–45 minutes)
“Mary’s Joy is our Joy to the World” — We’ll tell the shepherd’s story (with sound effects) and make Joy to the World ornaments, create, sing, and dance.
Parishioners continue the discussion on gratitude, led by Kathy Bozzuti-Jones, and what it means to live a life of thanks in anticipation of our deepest hopes and longings. A recording of the December 6 gathering with Diana Butler Bass is available for those who missed the session. Register here, if you haven’t already.