Second Sunday of Advent: Week of December 5, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Holy God, you send messengers to prepare the way for your coming. Open our hearts to hear these voices, and give us the courage to turn toward you during this Advent season. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s
practice on the
Way of Love is TURN. During the season of Advent, we
hear a lot of readings from prophets. What do you know about the prophets? How
do these prophets help us turn toward God and prepare for the coming of Jesus?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Luke 3:1-6
Reflect: North of where I live there are mountains. You can drive there two different ways. You can take the highway, which is smooth and straight and it will not take you very long to get there, or you can go the other way. This road is narrow and winding and the journey will be much longer. Building a smooth straight road is difficult. It takes time and effort. It requires ingenuity, imagination, and perseverance. God invites us to walk with God. The road we may walk will not necessarily be easy. It will require all that we have to make a way, but God will help us to move the rocks, to reroute around the unmovable obstacles, and to keep going. This week you may be celebrating the life of St. Nicholas. He lived in a difficult time, one of persecution and fear. Saint Nicholas chose to walk with God, even when it was difficult to make that road, just as we are invited to walk with God. As our world has changed, God will walk with us, no matter what the obstacles.
Respond: Have you ever looked at a map? It has symbols that help you go where you want to go. While it doesn’t look like a picture, it can help you get there. The stories in the Bible are often like a map. They can tell us were to go, and where not to go as we walk with God. John the Baptist talks about how God makes a way for us to walk that is easier than trying to go on our own. Make a map of your town and mark the places you go. Draw a way that you can remember that God is walking with you at that place. Take the map with you this coming week. You can add the map or something that reminds you of walking with God to your special place.
- Linnae Peterson
Adult and Elementary
Read: Luke 3:1-6
Reflect: When you were a baby, you cried. A lot. All the time. You cried when you needed some milk to drink. You cried when you wanted to feel the warmth and safety of being held in someone’s arms. You cried when you could not sleep. And most likely, when you cried, there was an adult not too far away. When they heard the cry, they turned toward you. They came to you and tried their best to get you what you needed or wanted. You may still cry, but probably not as much. Crying is just one way that we get other peoples’ attention. We ask people to turn towards us, pay attention to us, and do something for us.
But there is another kind of crying. In the Gospel of Luke, we hear about a man named John. John is described as having “a voice of one crying out in the wilderness…” He cried out to people wanting them to be baptized. He cried out, asking them to turn away from focusing so much on the things they wanted and more on what God wanted. He cried out to get them to do something for God.
Respond: Find a printout
of a teardrop online.
Here is one option. Print
and cut out two. Inside one of the teardrops, write, “What I want…” Make a list
of anything you want like specific food or toys or stuff you want to do. In the
other teardrop, write, “What God wants…” List things that you think God wants
to see in the world. Are there things you think God wishes people didn’t do or something
that God wishes they did do? Color the teardrops.
- Patrick Kangrga
Adult and Youth
Read: Luke 3:1-6
Reflect: In this passage, there seems to be a lot going on. In the previous chapter of this Gospel, we hear of Jesus’ childhood in Nazareth. And here, in this chapter, we are introduced to John the Baptist. John is proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, a symbolic act of cleansing and connecting with the will of God.
Respond: This passage talks about baptism. Ask people to share stories about their baptism with you, and if you know your baptism story, tell it to another person. How does baptism turn us closer to God? What have you been told of the meaning of your baptism? If you had to share this sacrament with someone, how would you do it? What would you say to that person?
- Luz Montes
Adult and Adults
Read: Luke 3:1-6
Reflect: This chapter in Luke starts off with what feels like another lineage, but it does two different things. First, it helps to determine the time in history when these events occur. Second, it shows John’s authority but also the difference between earthly and heavenly kingdoms.
John has begun traveling and talking about a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3, NRSV) Then he talks about the world being a path for peace for God. The mountains are obstacles, egos, or systemic injustices. The low valleys are the way the country treats marginalized communities. John is giving us the instructions on how to create that path that turns us to God’s peace. If the mountains are made low, the paths made straight, the rough ways made smooth, then the flesh (humanity) will be making the kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Respond: Spend the next week thinking about ways to make life’s paths more accessible for others. Spent enough time thinking? Go do it! Just like John was called, so are we. Work to prepare the Lord’s way. Make others’ mountains low and crooked paths straight. Remove obstacles, and make spaces more accessible for those that are in your neighborhood and beyond. Make exercises in equalizing a spiritual practice in turning towards God. Join forces with local communities and share honestly on your experiences in turning towards God by creating the kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
- Erin Sample