Medina/Rabat, Malta (Photo: Irene Bom)
During our Presbytery meeting in Malta a few months ago I recruited three of my colleagues (and one spouse) to join me in putting together a series of daily posts for Advent 2017 (December 3 to 24).
Rev. Laurence Twaddle, minister in Geneva, will kick us off with reflections on FAITH; Rev. Kim Hurst, minister in Malta, has prepared reflections on HOPE featuring some of her poems; and Rev. Andrew Gardner, minister in Brussels, will shine a light on the theme of JOY. Most of the photographs for the series are by Lindy Twaddle.
Generally, I will introduce the theme for the week on Sundays. To round things off, for the 4th Sunday of Advent (24 December) I have a prayer sheet on the theme, “Love is the greatest”.
Week 1: ADVENT FAITH
By way of introduction to this week’s theme, a reading, short reflection and a prayer to set you on your way.
John 20:24-29 (NIV UK)
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’
But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’
Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
‘blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ (John 20:29)
Fortunately for us, seeing the risen Jesus in the flesh is not a prerequisite for a vital relationship with him. “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7) – blessed faith, lived out day by day, moment by moment.
Advent Prayer: Keep Us Awake
‘Keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come.’ (Mark 13:33)
God our rock and our salvation
so much of faith is waiting
like a pregnant woman waiting in hope
like a people under siege, holding out till relief comes
like the soul lost in the darkness,
unable to see even a glimmer of light
yet stumbling through the night because somewhere out ahead,
day will surely break
God be with us in our waiting
Living God, keep us awake in faith,
faith that acts;
when our faith grows weary, strengthen us
when our faith grows fearful, give us courage
when our faith grows despairing, give us witnesses
and when the faith of others falters,
may we be a light in their darkness.
Source: the Christian Aid website.