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A Stirring Season

November 25, 2014

The following post appears as the cover of the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church December newsletter.

With the coming of Advent comes the season of baking, at least in our house. It is the time when Christmas cookies and lefse are made. While part of the joy, of course, is in eating these wonderful treats, our family finds even greater joy in the making and the baking. The kids delight to participate in the preparation, and the most coveted task is the stirring. Who will get to stir up the ingredients to prepare these tasty treats? Everyone gets their turn, that’s for sure. Advent is a time for stirring.

Cookie dough isn’t the only thing that gets stirred up during Advent, nor are we the only ones who do the stirring. In Sunday worship during this season, our prayers of the day each begin with our calling upon God to “stir up.” First, we pray, “Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.” Second, “Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son.” Third, “Stir up the wills of all who look to you, Lord God.” And finally, “Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.” God’s power, our hearts, our wills, and God’s power again – these are the ingredients that make up the dough of the season.

We pray for God to show his power; we pray for God to come. Come he has – and come again he will! Our world is clearly not right. Wars rage on, children go homeless, the oppressed cry out for justice. Come, Lord Jesus! Our world needs you! We remember in Advent the amazing promise that God has come in the surprising person of a little baby born in backwater Bethlehem. We also remember in Advent that Christ will come again to inaugurate the new creation that first broke into our world 2,000 years ago.

We pray for God to stir up our hearts so that we may prepare for the coming of God’s Son. Christ has come, and Christ will come again, but we pray also that he will come to us, into our hearts. Advent is a time to remember that we ourselves are ingredients in God’s plan of salvation; that the Christ-child was not only born for the only world, but for me.

We pray for God to stir up our wills so that we would become signs of God’s Kingdom – the Kingdom that is coming and has already burst into our world. We remember in Advent that our waiting is an active waiting and that we are called to care for God’s world now. After all, to invert my previous thought, the Christ-child was not only born for me, but for the whole world.

And we pray, once more, for God to stir up his power and come. We cannot fulfill God’s word or will for this world on our own. The good news we wait to hear at Christmas is that we don’t have to. Christ is coming and Christ is with us now.

As you prepare for the coming of Christmas in your homes, your lives, remember the ingredients of God’s Advent plan: God’s power – our hearts – our wills – and, once more, God’s power. This is the recipe for the Kingdom of God. In this we discovere that we are always being stirred – inspired, roused, called, and encouraged – by the work God is doing in our lives through the baby of Bethlehem, the King of creation, Jesus Christ our Lord and Messiah.

All stirred up,
Pastor Dave

It dawns on me that I wrote this article without a single reference to Bob Marley. Weird.

From → Odds and Ends

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