There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.
We have walked and lived in darkness, but we
have seen a great light…
For a child has been born for us, a son given
to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and
he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Wise Men and shepherds saw signs
that foretold Jesus’ coming 2000 years ago.
Today we don’t look for a single brilliant star
to follow or for angels singing in the heavens.
We look for other signs that
Jesus is with us, signs that:
…we are feeding the hungry,
…healing the sick, clothing the naked,
…caring for the poor, working for justice
and righteousness at home and in our city.
And so we watch and wait, staying alert and waiting
again for the coming of Jesus as we light a candle
in preparation for that glorious day.
We pray in the name
of God, our eternal Creator,
of Christ, our Immanuel,
and of the Holy Spirit, our Breath of life.
We invite you to hear from the Gospel of John 1:6-8,19-23.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name
was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to
the light, so that all might believe through him.
8 He himself was not the light, but he came to
testify to the light. …19 This is the testimony given
by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites
from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed,
“I am not the Messiah.” 21 And they asked him,
“What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him, “Who are you?
Let us have an answer for those who sent us.
What do you say about yourself?”
23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out
in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way
of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said.
The Good News of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Sermon and Reflection
What are the glimpses of divine light we have seen even in our moments of darkness?
How might we live more from our authentic self and embrace who God has made us to be?
What are the voices we are hearing that are crying out in the margins for God’s justice and mercy?
In the darkness a light shines,
though shadows lengthen,
the flame burns bright.
Day by day God draws nearer;
day by day we prepare.
In the depths of creation, God planted a vision
breathed it into life, and wrote it on our hearts.
In every time and every place, in this time and this place,
we are called to witness to real power, real authority:
Love made flesh, beauty revealed in darkness.
God declares a new beginning,
heaven and earth sing glory.
The promise is true, and
we are its messengers.
Do not be afraid:
Immanuel, God is with us!
The Spirit calls us still to share the good news:
light shines, and darkness will never overcome it.
So go forth in the name
of the Father,
of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Go in peace, and live the church.
May you find safety and rest this week.
[Photo from Vox Archives]