Here are questions for us to prayerfully consider as we prepare for worship this Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent (the lessons are from the Track 2 option). We hope you will find them a useful resource as you prepare to receive them in church. Click on the red headings below to go to the reading.
Collect of the Day
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Prophets often use poetic language to point to God’s truth for God’s people. What are some of the images the prophet used in this passage? What do mountains symbolize in the Bible? What do they mean for us in our own experience? How do they convey and reinforce what the prophet is saying?
Jerusalem was known as a place where God could be found, worshiped, and obeyed. Pilgrims through the ages and today have felt God’s presence in a special way when they journeyed to Jerusalem. Why do you think that happens? What roles do our memory and imagination serve in helping us to experience God when we go to Jerusalem? How could our memory and imagination serve that same purpose even if we never “cross the ditch”? In other words, how can we experience God at home?
The metaphor of “wake up” (or “keep awake” in this week’s Gospel) is often used to describe the way of faith. Does that imagery still work for us today? Why or why not? In what ways are we asleep as we go through life? What does sleepiness cause us to miss? What will alertness cause us to see?
Matthew’s Gospel uses a surprising image of the Lord showing up in our lives—that it will be like a thief breaking into our home. Other than the surprise factor, what other aspects of being like a thief fits with how the Lord shows up in our life? What might the Lord take from us?