Second Sunday of Advent 2017 – Light of the Wold

second Advent candle

Today we relight the candle of HOPE.
Now we light the candle for the second Sunday in Advent. This is the candle of PEACE.

As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and our peace.

* * *

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

The Christmas season is full of light – sparkling lights on the Christmas tree; houses in the neighborhood decorated with lights for the coming holiday; candles flickering on the mantle; a fire in the fireplace representing warmth, comfort, and hope. These are the images of light we will hold onto this Advent season.

And we hold these images as hope not only for our own lives; but for the lives of those suffering in Palestine, Israel, the Middle East, and around the world. We remember in our prayers this week:

  • The men, women, and children who are living in Gaza; often with only a few hours of electricity per day.
  • The 60,000 internally displaced persons in Gaza still waiting for a durable housing solution since the destruction of their homes during the 2014 Gaza War.
  • The families affected by the 155 demolitions or confiscations of Palestinian owned structures in East Jerusalem and the West Bank during September and October 2016.
  • Those affected by the terrible fires throughout Israel and the West Bank that destroyed hundreds of homes, displacing tens of thousands.

We close with a prayer from The Reverend Said Ailabouni, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, Illinois:

God of mercy and compassion,
of grace and reconciliation,
pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East:
Jews, Muslims and Christians,
Palestinians and Israelis.
Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope,
oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation,
that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,
and peace and justice could be experienced by all.

(Source, Churches for Middle East Peace.)





Five Signs of Hope in the New Year | Howard Snyder

Five Signs of Hope in the New Year | Howard Snyder.

Hope for 2015. This is worth reading

Grace Zoughbi – Hopes and Dreams of a Young Palestinian Christian


In which hope is a radical act of faith :: SheLoves – Sarah Bessey

In which hope is a radical act of faith :: SheLoves – Sarah Bessey.

Sarah writes in this blog post about the radical nature of Christian hope. Of course, Walter Brueggemann, is a great inspiration for her in this respect.

There Is Still Time (for Things to Change)

This is an independent project aiming to make people realize that to make a change, we must first believe that it’s possible. The world belongs to all of us and needs our optimism so that our will to change becomes a real change, and we believe this is only possible when starting from within. By changing our way of thinking, we change our way of acting and by acting we change the world. There is still time.

Scot McKnight – First Advent Candle – Hope

First Sunday of Advent

Today we light the first candle of the Advent wreath. This is the candle of HOPE.

With Christians around the world, we use this light to help us prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

May we receive God’s light as we hear the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.”
Isaiah 9:2 Continue reading “Scot McKnight – First Advent Candle – Hope”

From Bondage to the Desert – How to Prepare for Freedom – 7

7. The Danger of Unrealistic Hopes

The greatest enemy of the church’s ability to function under freedom is the entertaining of false and unrealistic ideas about freedom and democracy, seen as a universal panacea, a cure for all diseases. Continue reading “From Bondage to the Desert – How to Prepare for Freedom – 7”

From Bondage to the Desert – 1.6 The Theology of Glory vs. the Theology of the Cross – 4

1.6.4 Hope in Despair

When persecution strikes and when physical and emotional pain becomes unbearable, it is very easy even for the strongest Christians to lose heart and to fall into despair. In moments like these we learn to depend on the help and encouragement of the community of faith.

All down the centuries, the faithful have been able to use different means in order to overcome the hopelessness brought about by such painful experiences. Thus suffering has often been sublimated into beautiful poetry and music, profound prayers, and special acts of commitment and service to other people in need.

Continue reading “From Bondage to the Desert – 1.6 The Theology of Glory vs. the Theology of the Cross – 4”