Advent: Day 9

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

Daily Office Lectionary: Amos 7:1-9; Revelation 1:1-8; Matthew 22:23-33

Praying through the abridged offices as outlined in the Advent study guide will take about ten to fifteen minutes. Not that it's a race to see how fast we can get through our prayer time but the point is that you can make a good beginning by taking just a quarter of an hour (or less) to be with the Lord. God can take a small offering, our five loaves and two fishes, and multiply it into a life of prayer, a life where we "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

If you commit to encountering the living God daily in prayer and in Scripture, your life will be transformed. When I was just eleven years old, I was challenged to do just that, and the rest is history. That's not to say that I'm perfect or even a paragon of spirituality. Rather, it's a witness that when we read the Scriptures prayerfully, God changes our lives. The word is indeed living and active (Hebrews 4:12).

And we have such a gift through the lectionary, that we can read and meditate upon the same Scriptures together, as various member of the one Body of Christ. This week we will be in the book of Revelation where we will be reading Jesus' seven letters to the seven churches. I think you'll find that the words of our Lord will challenge many contemporary portraits of Jesus (e.g. "the ultimate nice guy). His letters include praise, encouragement, rebuke, and warning.

And as we read through these letters, we need to ask the Spirit for courage to, as it were, wear the shoe if it fits. The members of the Church needs to ask themselves which churches they are most like; receiving and responding not only to the praise and encouragement but also to the rebuke and warning. We have a profound opportunity this second week of Advent, during this penitential season, to receive a diagnosis of our spiritual life from our Lord and by the Spirit. And not only a diagnosis (thanks be to God), but a treatment plan, a cure for our bodies and souls -- the Crucified and Risen Jesus Himself.

Fr. Matt