Second Sunday of Advent, 4 December 2016

Tell Out My Soul, by Timothy Dudley-Smith

“Tell out, my soul, the greatness of is name!

Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;

His mercy sure, from age to age the same;

His holy name – the Lord, the Mighty One.”

 

 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord;  make his paths straight.’”  

Matthew 3:1-12

Without doubt, John the Baptist anticipated the might, power and strength Jesus will carry through His presence to everyone He encounters.  John called the people to repent, to prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight!  He was the prophetic voice that pointed to Jesus;  He was the one who wanted to decrease so that Jesus might increase. John got it right!

In the same manner, living in a highly volatile land, we have no choice but to be the prophetic voice to our communities and churches.  During this advent season and beyond, our hearts are inspired

star-street-advent-2016

Star Street in Bethlehem

to seek peace and justice in every action we do and every place we go.  Our words should be to build, encourage and support and to lead people to draw closer to God exactly like John.  In doing so, we must seek to repent of anything that hinders our relationship with whom whose sandals we are not worthy to carry.

Like John, we ought to ask the Lord for strength to bear fruit in keeping with repentance; for faith to see the hard stones turning into living ones, living stones that witness to the Lord and His work in this land where “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power…”  It is Jesus who “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10: 38) We can do nothing without God by our side, when God is in our midst, miracles happen, lives are transformed, broken hearts are healed, souls are saved, the good news is being shared; we can then all believe and see for ourselves that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!  This should be our dream and vision; as we lift Jesus up, as we glorify Him, we will advance the work of the Kingdom.  And on that day, when we behold the lamb in all his glory, when our faces gaze upon his majesty, we will know that it was worth it all!

Let us pray, Lord, in our weakness, help us be the voice of change, love, peace and joy for our nations. Use us, transform us, guide us to point people to you; Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory, the Light of the world and the savior to all.  Amen.

Devotion written by Michael Arteen

General Board of Global Ministries missioner serving as campus minister at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, Palestine

Photo Credit:  Star Street is one of Bethlehem’s oldest commercial streets, connecting the northern part of the Old City to the southern part.  As I walk through this street, I am always reminded that as Christ’s followers we ought to prepare the way for the coming of our King.  It is a narrow street, that also makes me aware that following Jesus is not always the easiest path, however, whilst walking our journey on earth; Jesus will always be holding our hand as we follow that bright shining star.  Photo taken by Michael Arteen

Advent Wreath:  Candle holders are olive wood Bethlehem Star, the Candles are placed in tear gas canisters, the olive wall panels represent the wall around Bethlehem and many other areas in the West Bank area of Palestine (available through the YWCA of Jerusalem), the green carpet is made by women from the Negev, and the scarfs represent men and women.  Photo taken by Kristen L. Brown 

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