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Second Sunday of Advent – The Purple of Praise

December 8, 2019

Romans 15:4-13

Romans soars with a litany of words this week: steadfastness and encouragement,
hope and harmony, glory and truth, mercy and rejoice, praise and joy. The
combination of verbs and adjectives describes the Christian life. We who
know the grace and goodness of God through Jesus Christ respond with lives
of hope and harmony, praise and joy. As Paul admonishes earlier in Romans: Do
not be conformed to this age, instead be transformed. In other words, be different
than the culture that often does not relish or reveal all of these beautiful characteristics: steadfastness and encouragement, glory and truth.

The purple of Advent reminds those of us in Christian pews to rejoice, give thanks and sing. Good News, not disaster, looms. Good News of great joy for all people will soon resound through the cosmos and we are to share it, shout it, show it right along with the heavenly host. The color purple this Advent season, in the midst of painful headlines and personal challenges, invites us to remember the story, the salvation history of which we are a player, that redeems all creation and leaves nothing and no one God forsaken.

Romans 15 lifts up the barrier-breaking, breach-bridging love of God made known
in Jesus Christ, the Incarnation that reconciles all estrangement, Emmanuel who is with us all, the Messiah who comes not to condemn the world but to save it. How can we not see purple and praise God with hearts and hands and voices?

God of Good News, when the world around us overflows with bad news, we struggle to rejoice. We become mired in the script of inevitable suffering when we ought to be steadfast and encouraged by Scripture that tells us nothing is impossible through you. We rejoice that you do not give up on us and we praise you for your truth and glory made know to us in Jesus Christ. Amen.

by Jill Duffield,  Presbyterian Outlook editor

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