Saturday, December 16, 2006

Third Sunday in Advent

Papa Rooster's commentary for our church bulletin:

Advent 3—Gaudete Sunday or Rose Sunday

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.” (Phil. 4)

Our preparation for the Lord’s coming is infused with joyous anticipation. Our Lord, the Rose of Sharon, brings joy when He comes. This joy is symbolized by the rose-colored Advent candle, and sometimes by rose-colored vestments. The reality is that our penitence and preparation is filled with promise. The curses of the fall are reversed in the Lord’s coming, all of the prophecies of healing, provision and release are fulfilled, and John the Baptist ushers us into this joy. It is his ministry to show how the fulfillment of our joy consists in the Lord’s increase and our decrease. We carry on his ministry, poised as we are between the Lord’s first and second comings. Joy is the rosy-hue that tints all present struggles while we await the Lord. In faith, we can be like John who as an unborn babe recognized Christ through the veil of two wombs and leapt for joy. The Lord’s coming glory is still veiled to us, we see only “through a glass darkly,” but the joy of the Lord is our strength. Rejoice in Him always, and pray without ceasing.

Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent (from the Book of Common Prayer):

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

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