Third Sunday of Advent – The Purple of Penitence
December 15, 2019
Be patient. Wait with expectation, but not anxiousness. Strengthen your hearts because the Lord is near. Do not grumble against each other, as not complaining
about our siblings reflects our patience and strengthens our hearts. Be patient.
Strengthen your hearts. Do not grumble against one another. In so doing we will
be ready to meet the Lord, our judge, who is very near. Advent provides us a season
to reflect on our readiness to meet Jesus Christ. James gives plumb lines for us to
evaluate that readiness.
In a culture enamored with instant gratification and an age with answers to every question in our pocket, the virtue of patience feels antiquated, perhaps unnecessary. James reminds us, however, that relationships – strong, good, faithful relationships – depend on patience. Inevitably, we hurt each other. We let one another down. We take important people in our lives for granted. We complain about more than we praise the communities God gives us. Like the Israelites before us, we gripe about God, too. We neglect gratitude. We point out the speck in the eye of those with whom we disagree and neglect the log in our own. Imagine if instead we took James’ advice and practiced patience: a patience that begins with penitence, a recognition of our impatience and grumbling, an honest asking for forgiveness from God and those we have hurt and a daily commitment to listen before we speak, pause before we press send, pray before we act.
Be patient. Strengthen you heart. Do not grumble against one another. Remember,
the Lord, our Judge, is near.
Alpha and Omega, you created all that is seen and unseen and tend to that which you have made. You refuse to give up on us, even when we turn away from you, neglect your commandments and seek our own way. Your patience with us cannot be quantified and we rejoice in such grace. Strengthen our hearts and increase our patience with one another so that we more resemble you, our good and loving Creator. Amen.
by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor
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