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4th Sunday in Advent

st johns

Collect and Readings for 4th Sunday of Advent, Micah 5:2-5a, Magnificat, Psalm 80:1-7, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-55
The Prayer for today God our redeemer, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son: grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour, so we may be ready to greet him when he comes again as our judge; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

It is not only Mary and Elizabeth who are pregnant in our readings this week. The whole atmosphere is full of expectancy and the sense that what we are looking forward to has already begun to be fulfilled. It may be hidden but it leaps within us.

The prophet Micah speaks of events far greater that he imagines, and we, with our knowledge of the Gospel, can pick up on the image of a shepherd saviour being brought to birth and establishing a reign of peace. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us not just of Christ's birth but also of his death. As an unborn child already has the DNA pattern for the potential adult, so we are given here a kind of spiritual antenatal scan of Jesus, stretching back into the longing and forward to the sacrificial giving which secures the future.

There is enormous strength in the capacity to set aside something precious to you in order that a greater good may be enabled to happen. We marvel at Jesus laying aside his glory; laying aside his garments to wash his disciples' feet; laying aside the law – all in obedience and out of love. It is a hallmark of true Godliness.

So when we find human beings like Mary willing to lay aside so much in obedience and out of love, we are watching the most real and beautiful of human nature; God and humanity co-operating together for the good of the world.

This week we are given the chance to press the pause button as Mary and Elizabeth meet, with their unborn children within them, and wonder at what can happen when we allow God to work in us and with us for the good of the world.

Some things to reflect on:

  • How do you think Mary and Elizabeth we really feeling at this meeting?
  • Do we as individuals want to co-operate with God and if so, what does it mean for us and our lives?

God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson

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