Lectionary Reflection: First Sunday of Advent

By Carol James

Friday, December 1

Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

Keep awake.  

Our readings today vividly remind us that waiting for God’s transformative power to break in our world is not a safe or tame or passive undertaking. Our prophets and teachers challenge us to rise and meet God wherever we stand today, with our gifts and our sins intermingled. When short days and crammed schedules conspire to make hibernation look pretty attractive, voices of Advent call us again and again: Keep awake. Prepare the way of the Lord. Keep awake.

For me, keeping awake has a lot to do with paying attention. The more loving focus I can offer to what’s immediately around me, the more I feel connected and able to do the work that’s given to me to do.  Generalities, especially the generalities of injustice and greed that seem so widely abounding, are tiring, and a burden that’s hard to carry day by day. Paying attention isn’t the whole of our work of keeping awake, but it’s a good start to our Advent journey.

When we’re awake, we can act. When we’re awake, we can connect. When we’re awake, we can imagine possibility. Join me this week in committing to stay awake, to seek and respond to God’s invitation and loving energy in the world around us and within us.

Carol James has been part of the cathedral community for over a decade. She has served as a co-mentor in the Education for Ministry program. She currently leads the evening prayer providers in the Jail Ministry and is a cathedral staff member.

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