Readings: Lectionary Year B, 1st Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 64.1-9 – a plea for God to come and rescue God’s people from sin
1 Corinthians 1.3-9 – a prayer for blessing while waiting for Christ’s return
Mark 13.24-37 – Jesus warns his followers to live in readiness for his return

The Lord visits Abraham. Glass by C.E.Kempe in Holy Trinity, Ilfracombe.

Is it a strange thought that we should be called on to offer hospitality to God? Does Abraham’s attentive pose in this image help us as we try to serve God?

Some thoughts on the readings
– The readings talk about God’s arrival in terms of extreme disruption, even violence. Whether we think of Christ’s return as an event in our own space-time, or as something outside those boundaries, it will be the most significant event in our entire existence. Scripture urges us to be ready.
– We are the “slaves in charge, each with his work” of Jesus’ parable, waiting for the master to return. We must be watchful, but we also have lives to live. Each of us is gifted by God and has a part to play in our family, our community and our world.
– Paul has some hard things to say to the Christians in Corinth, but first he reassures them of their salvation, and inclusion in God’s people.

Suggestions for further Bible reading
Genesis 18:1-8 God appears unexpectedly to Abraham bringing news of a baby, in fulfillment of the covenant that God had earlier made with Abraham.
Psalm 24 When the King of Glory returns, those who are waiting for him, living lives of integrity, can lift up their heads with confidence.
Hebrews 9:27-28 When Jesus returns it will be to gather his people: he already dealt with sins and achieved our salvation by his death & resurrection.
Do any other Bible passages come to mind when you read today’s readings?

Points for Prayer
– Give thanks for fun and happiness in the run up to Christmas. Praise God that in Jesus we can know God With Us – face to face.
– Pray for everyone who will come to a special worship event during Advent and Christmas, especially if they don’t normally attend church: ask God to open their eyes to the deeper truths of Christmas, and draw them into a relationship with Jesus.
– Pray for everyone who is facing their first Christmas after the death of a loved one. Ask God to show them peace and hope in the birth of Jesus.
– Pray for people around the world living under the threat or reality of violent conflict. Ask God to give leaders a willingness to negotiate for peace.

Points for Action
– Set aside a short time each day, maybe just 5 minutes among the busy-ness, to think quietly about Advent as a season of waiting for our Lord to arrive.
– Think of someone you prayed for in the third prayer above: drop them a message to let them know that they are in your prayers.