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.)

 

 

 

 

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Richard Rohr – Two Kinds of Darkness That Can Both Lead to Light

There is a darkness that we are all led into by our own stupidity, selfishness, blindness, or by just living out of our false selves. I guess that is what most of us call “sin,” which is often an opening to grace and mercy. There is also a darkness that God leads us through for our own enlightenment and deepening. In either case, we have to walk through these dark periods by simple honesty, apology of some sort, surrender, letting go, forgiveness, and often by some necessary restitution or healing ritual. (I still hear of Vietnam, Afghani, or Iraqi vets who feel they must go back and help some children in those countries to themselves be healed—of whatever!) Eastern religions might call it “karmic restitution.” Continue reading “Richard Rohr – Two Kinds of Darkness That Can Both Lead to Light”

The Blessing of Light

May the blessing of light be on you
light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.

And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm. Continue reading “The Blessing of Light”