Our passage this evening is from 2 Peter 1:12-21. We are using the Common English Bible translation.
Reminder of the Christian life12 So I’ll keep reminding you about these things, although you already know them and stand secure in the truth you have. 13 I think it’s right that I keep stirring up your memory, as long as I’m alive. 14 After all, our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I am about to depart from this life. 15 I’m eager for you always to remember these things after my death.
Christ’s return is true16 We didn’t repeat crafty myths when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Quite the contrary, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice came to him from the magnificent glory, saying, “This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 In addition, we have a most reliable prophetic word, and you would do well to pay attention to it, just as you would to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Most important, you must know that no prophecy of scripture represents the prophet’s own understanding of things, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will. Instead, men and women led by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
God's word for us this evening: Thanks be to God!
The Four Movements of Lectio Divina ("Sacred Reading")
You will notice these movements are slightly different today (the names have been switched for 2 and 3). I made a mistake. Thank you for your patience!
1. Lectio: Reading. Read a short passage of scripture. Feel free to:
- Read until a particular word of phrase strikes you. ("If God comes in the first verse, why go on to the next?")
- Read the entire passage.
- What did it mean to the people for whom it was first written?
- What does it mean to or for me today?
- What does it mean to or for us, the community of God's people, today?
4. Contemplatio: Contemplation. This is the moment when you let go of words, images, wrestling, and wondering, and simply give yourself up to love. This is the celebration. Rest in God's love.
The season of Advent never fails to stir up my memory. I recall so many sweet things... baking cookies with my children, attending a beloved annual holiday concert, taking delight in the lights as they appear on the houses in my neighborhood.
I recall painful things, too. The end of a relationship, inextricably intertwined with the month of December. Driving through the dark night listening to the strains of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," feeling very much a sense of lonely exile.
And yet, even the darkest, loneliest moments are tangled together with something unbearably beautiful: this promise of return, this lamp shining in the dark.
The practice of faith is the practice of holding on to, and then sharing, memory, communal memory. Faith is also about something we can't remember yet because it is completely new, this "powerful coming of Christ."
What memories are stirred in you, this Advent season? What lamp shines for you in the dark?
"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" performed by Sufjan Stevens
Loving God, we trust you are with us as the days grow darker, for darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day. Stir up our memories, kindle in us your flame of hope, and be our lamp, guiding us home to you. We pray in the name of the One who is coming. Amen.