Peace of Endurance — Peace of Advent

Scripture Focus: Revelation 13:10
…This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

Reflection: Peace of Endurance — Peace of Advent
By Erin Newton 

The apocalyptic vision in Revelation continues with a picture of the suffering of God’s people.  It is a painful scene of oppression and injustice. Believers are called upon to accept the hard paths they are on, even to captivity or death. It is with endurance, patience, and faithfulness that they are commanded to face their circumstances.

As mentioned earlier this week, the Roman Empire had been through a series of wars in which Israel also suffered the pain and consequences of a dysfunctional society. They are ruled by a psychotic leader who seeks to kill any opposition to his throne even if the threats are toddlers.

The death of Herod was a momentary glimmer of hope for the safety of Jesus. However, as corrupt political systems go, one bad leader was replaced with another. Archelaus must have had a reputation like his father to prompt Joseph to fear returning to Judea. The family settled in another town further from their original home to patiently wait for the unfolding of God’s plan.

Bound to the rules, regulations, and rage-filled killing sprees, the Jews lived in a world that was corrupt and oppressive. Roman regulations sowed division within the Jewish population when some joined Rome, collecting taxes from friends and family. Into a world of corruption, the Savior was born.  His tiny body was bound by the slow progress of time. In time, he would grow into adulthood and begin teaching the crowds or healing the sick.

We, too, live within a corrupt world where God’s people quickly turn on one another for profit or exercise of power.  Our hearts groan as we endure the suffering and hardship. Like the hymns of Advent remind us, we eagerly and longingly await the Savior. We see that he, too, was born within a corrupt system.

The peace of Advent is the peace of endurance.  We long for God to remove oppression but we know that Jesus has walked this way too. There is great comfort in remembering that Jesus laid aside the divine right to be free from pain and suffering. Instead, he chose to be born in a helpless frame in a corrupt system and wait for decades to grow. As the great hymn says, His law is love and his gospel is peace.

Chains shall He break
for the slave is our brother
And in His name
all oppression shall cease.

Music: “O Holy Night,” recording, Sara Groves, 2008

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
I cry out to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” — Psalm 142.5

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Chronicles 26 (Listen – 4:00)
Revelation 13 (Listen – 3:20)

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Read more about Consolation and Patience — Joy of Advent
Like those “under the altar” we are comforted in our waiting and suffering. We seek and receive consolation from God himself.

Prayers of Joy :: Joy of Advent

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Scripture Focus: Revelation 11.15
“The kingdom of the world has become
    the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
    and he will reign for ever and ever.”

Reflection: Prayers of Joy :: Joy of Advent
By John Tillman

As we conclude the third week of Advent and move to the fourth and final Sunday of this season of anticipation, we prepare our hearts with the joyful prayers of Revelation which follow the seventh trumpet. The joy we experience now through the Holy Spirit has its culmination here. The joy of Advent is true joy and has been held in hearts across the centuries.

Prayers of Joy
We thank you, Lord, for the true joy, ours in Advent.

Advent’s joy exists despite and within all circumstances. 
It is joy in plenty and pleasure, but also in pain and want. 

It is the joy of Zechariah and Elizabeth
 Who suffered years of hopelessness before a spark of joy came to them
It is the joy in Zechariah’s prophecy
 Seeing an end to earthly suffering
It is the joy Mary sang of
 The lowly lifted and the proud humiliated
It is the joy the shepherds could see
 A child born to Mary and to them and to us
 A child born to fulfill God’s promise to Eve.  

This is the great joy of the good news shepherds were sent to seek.
It is the joy John the Baptist knew
 His ministry faded and suffered, yet Christ’s grew
It is the joy of Jesus
 Healing and feeding masses who did not understand
 Masses who followed with wrong motives
It is the joy of Christ on the cross
 Despising the shame
 Eyes set on the joy before him.
It is the joy of the resurrection
 First witnessed by Mary Magdalene
 The first to tell the gospel to others

This joyful good news, this impossible gospel, passed on to us today is the only source of true and lasting joy that will last into eternity.

We join the prayer of heavenly elders, who fall in worship, saying:

“The kingdom of the world has become
    the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
    and he will reign for ever and ever.”

Come, Lord Jesus! 
Enter our hearts now.
Enter our world through our hands and speech.
And finally, at the day of our Father’s choosing, enter our skies
And rest your feet on Earth, with your restoring justice.

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
    the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
    and have begun to reign.”

Come reign in us, Lord, so that you can reign through us.


*Handel’s Messiah, Full Symphony Performance (Recording of Live Broadcast), (2:32) Sydney Philharmonic Symphony and Choirs

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Now his mother and his brothers arrived, and standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, “Look, your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.” He replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers? Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3.31-35

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Chronicles 24 (Listen -5:07)
Revelation 11 (Listen -3:24)

This Weekend’s Readings
2 Chronicles 25 (Listen -5:12) Revelation 12 (Listen -2:58)
2 Chronicles 26 (Listen -4:00) Revelation 13 (Listen -3:20)

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The value of words for Christians is vastly different than others, for our Savior is known as The Word made flesh.