Mission Devotional - November 30, 2016

Opening Prayer:

There is a mild portending in the air
this last November morning, a persistent wish
that with tomorrow's wreath and purple candles
at least something will begin, or should I say,
"begin again." Almost eighty of these now, after all,
and still - like weary Simeon - I'm scanning faces,
seeking, hoping, perhaps fearing. If he did come in the end
how would I know him? Would there be words exchanged,
a knowing look, even a fierce embrace?
Might I have already missed whatever is to come,
failing to recognize the fathoms deep beneath the daily pageant?
Or will this be the year, at last, when ancient word and melody,
rich color and the candled scent of evergreen
bear light to life and lasting joy within
these time-worn, aching bones.
- J. Barrie Shepherd

Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-11

Journal: What do the words of Isaiah stir within you during this day and this season? What desires are aroused in you? How do you long for God to come into your life and world?

Reflection: "Advent is all about desire," an elderly Jesuit in our community used to say every year as November drew to a close. And whenever he said it, I would say, "Huh?"

But gradually it dawned on me. Christians desire the coming of Christ into their lives in new ways, a desire that is heightened during Advent. The beautiful readings from the book of Isaiah, which we hear during Advent, describe how even the earth longs for the presence of God. The wonderful "O antiphons," sung at evening prayer and during the Gospel acclamations towards the end of Advent, speak of Christ as the "King of Nations and their Desire." The Gospel readings in the coming weeks tell of John the Baptist expressing Israel's hope for a Messiah. Mary and Joseph look forward to the upcoming birth of a son. My friend was right. It's all about desire. - James Martin, SJ

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

L. and E. serve in a Creative Access country. L. is working to make evangelical literature available to the nations so that people can come to Christ. Pray today for all of the small groups and book clubs that L. and E. are using to connect with people in their country. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.

Thrive Lonsdale is led by CSPC member Clayton Wood. This organization challenges inner-city youth with the love of Jesus Christ to serve others and reconcile by creatively meeting their spiritual, educational, and recreational needs through Bible study, tutoring, mentoring and outings. Pray today for all of the youth reached by this ministry that they might have a safe and rewarding finish to the Fall semester.

Closing Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus. Come into our longing. Come into our lives and fill them with the hope and the joy which we were made to know. This day and every day. Amen.