In the first week of Advent every year we focus on the meaning of Advent – about Jesus being the way to heaven and Advent being a time to wake up. Now is the time to wake up. Advent is the season between the last season of the liturgical year and Christmas.
The first Sunday of Advent in my parish is about hope. Nobody is perfect – whatever we have done or not done, Jesus is opening his arms to us and inviting us to come back. So, the first week is invitational. Begin your preparation by awakening. This needs time, so we take it.
The second Sunday of Advent in my parish is about peace. I spoke in services about Sunday being a special day of the holy Bible – the Old Testament and the New Testament. How do you read it? I asked my congregations whether they put letters and photos in it for safekeeping? There are some people where I live who kiss the Bible every day before they go to work. However, it’s not meant to be seen as a piece of magical equipment in our homes. The Bible is valuable when you open it and read it. You can only live the Bible when you know it.
God loved all the world so much that we were given God’s son, who saved all of us and then gave us his Spirit. The Spirit of Christ is with us – he gave us his Spirit at Pentecost. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, people will see your face, hear you talk and witness how you act and know the word of God and his peace through you.
In the third Sunday of Advent we focus on John the Baptist, and his call from the wilderness to prepare ourselves because the Messiah is coming. We need to repent.
On the fourth Sunday we also focus on John the Baptist. To be an instrument in God’s hand, as John the Baptist was, I need to be clean. The Holy Spirit cleans our hearts and speaks through us.
John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod. As Palestinians, we see people, including children, being put in prison in unjust ways. John could have been set free from prison by saying what Herod wanted to hear, but instead he spoke the truth.
The Jordan River, from where John the Baptist preached, is an hour away from Reineh where I live. Reineh is the village beside everything – you can go all over Galilee from Reineh. I can see the mountain of the Transfiguration from my home verandah. In the summer time, I go there every week and sit there for my devotions.
You are very welcome to visit us in Reineh, which has the only spring between Nazareth and Cana. So, Jesus of Nazareth would have passed through Reineh when travelling to Cana.
My church and I are also very keen to partner with parishes in the Anglican Church Southern Queensland and other parts of Australia so we can be supported through prayer. We already have prayer partners in Scotland and would very much like Australian Anglican churches to partner with us as well. If you are an Anglican Church Southern Queensland clergyperson or lay leader and you are interested in your church becoming a prayer partner with our church, please email the anglican focus Editor Michelle McDonald via firstname.lastname@example.org and she will put you in contact with me.