Monday, 14 December 2015

Waiting in Advent 2015 with
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (16)

‘He, who never leaves us alone, is there’ … ‘Harmony of Leaves’ – a sculpture by Declan Breen in The Mall, Bunclody, Co Wexford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

We are in the third week of Advent this morning [14 November 2015], and the third candle on the Advent Wreath, the pink or rose candle, which we lit yesterday, represents Saint John the Baptist. During the season of Advent this year, I am working my way through my own Advent Calendar, and I invite you to join me each morning for a few, brief moments in reflecting on the meaning of Advent through the words of the great German theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945).

In a reflection on the significance of Saint John the Baptist in the season of Advent, Bonhoeffer once wrote:

“So the whole of the message of Advent becomes an urgent sermon, calling men and women to repentance. Before Jesus came John the Baptist, and we must not overlook him. For the whole of the early Christians, Advent was a time for repentance, not for rejoicing. All the hymns that we have sung speak of this and it seems to me that it is right that we should have sung with repentant hearts. But now it is true that … Christmas will come once again. The great transformation will once again happen. God would have it so. Out of the waiting, hoping, longing world will come in which the promise is given. All crying will be stilled. No tears shall flow. No lonely sorrow shall afflict us any more, or threaten. The One who helps us is there. He, who never leaves us alone, is there” (DBW, 10: 582-87).

Readings (Church of Ireland lectionary): Psalms 28, 76; Zechariah 1: 1-17; Revelation 3: 7-13.

The Collect of the Day:

O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
Grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.

The Advent Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.

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