Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Thine Only-begotten Son, so that by His coming we may be enabled to serve Thee with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
-- Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church
This week's Gospel reading sets the scene. "There will be sings in the sun, moon, and stars. And on the earth nations will be in anguish, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the surging waves, people fainting from fear and expectation of the things coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Lk 21.26-26, EHV). It sounds a lot like now. It sounds a lot like the world has always been, shaken by turmoil, unrest, and calamity, but it surely seems to fit today--maybe now more than ever.
What are we to do? Are we to despair? Are we to resign in hopelessness? By no means. "Our redemption is near," Jesus goes on to say. Therefore we pray that "God, the source of patient endurance and encouragement, grant that [we] agree with one another in accordance with CHrist Jesus, so that with one mind, in one voice, [we] may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 15.5, EVH). In other words, as St. Paul calls us in the previous verse, we are to be united in hope and patient endurance as we serve one another and our neighbor.
While the time is short, our charge is to get busy--doing good works that we might show the world the hope we have in Jesus Christ and proclaiming his goodness and grace. Let us pray that in this Advent and Christmas season, when our cultural celebrations have become almost entirely secular and materialistic, that God's mercy will break through hearts hardened by sin in order to make ready the way of the coming King.
Photo by Elizabeth Explores on Unsplash