Responsive Readings for Advent, Year C
Based on Old Treatment Lectionary Readings of the Revised Common Lectionary
Provided courtesy of Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene
Advent 1: Jeremiah 33:14-16
The Lord is our Righteousness
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
Leader: Our world sometimes seems to be in chaos and out of control. We constantly hear of wars, of terrorist acts, of genocide, of the most horrific atrocities, of unspeakable cruelty. Is there no justice to be found? Is there no peace?
Leader: Our nation sometimes seems to be in chaos and out of control. We hear of violence, of racial tension, of crime rates, of social upheaval. We debate policy and politics and wonder what it will take to fix the problems. We wonder if they can be fixed. Is there no righteousness in the land? Who has the answers?
Leader: Sometimes our own lives seem to be in chaos and out of control. We struggle with changing circumstances; we grapple with the consequences of our own choices; we reap the bitter harvest of our own sin. Is there any hope for healing? Is there a path to a better future?
Leader: We sometimes think that the future is ours to control. We think that everything depends on us: the right political decisions, the force of our armies, the might of our intelligence and technology, the power of our moral certainty. Yet we sometimes forget about God's future. That future is shaped by his presence and activity in the world on His own terms.
Leader: God's promise has always been, "I will be with you." That promise to be with us calls us to hold the present realities of life within the cradle of expectation. The present is not the final chapter. The world that we experience, with all of its sin and pain and misery, is not God's final word. So we wait expectantly.
Advent 2: Malachi 3:1-4
Prepare the Way Before Me
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
Leader: I have good news. The Lord is Coming! We have been expecting Him. We have been waiting and the time is drawing closer. What should we do to prepare for His arrival? Are we ready for His coming?
Leader: The Lord is Coming! He is coming with grace and righteousness. He is coming in purity and holiness, like gold and silver purified by fire. Will he find righteousness and holiness among His people? Can we stand in the presence of a Holy God? Are we prepared for His Coming?
Leader: The Lord is Coming! Prepare the way of the Lord. Remove every obstacle. By the mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Leader: The Lord is Coming! Prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people's way. For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I come and dwell with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite."
Leader: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, every mountain and hill shall be made low, the crooked shall be made straight, the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Advent 3: Zephaniah 3:14-20
Rejoice and Exult with all your Heart
Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.
Leader: Rejoice in the Lord; again I will say, Rejoice! Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O people of God, and shout for joy, all who are upright in heart.
Leader: The Lord is near. Let all who take refuge in the Lord rejoice. Let all who hope for deliverance sing for joy. The Lord is near!
Leader: Rejoice, for the Lord is near. The Lord has turned away our enemies. He has taken away the judgments against us. The LORD will make known his victory. He will reveal his vindication in the sight of all people.
Leader: Sing to the LORD for joy, all the earth. Break forth into joyous song and sing praises, people of God. For He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to those who call upon Him.
Leader: The Lord, our God, is in our midst. He will gather the outcast. He will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. He will renew us in his love.
Advent 4: Micah 5:2-5a
He Shall Be Great
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.
Leader: Hear the good news. God is about to do something new. A new King is coming. He will establish a new Kingdom. He will rule over his people and establish justice. He will be great to the ends of the earth.
Leader: This King does not come from the centers of power. He comes from an insignificant place. He does not come with conquering armies. He comes as a shepherd to care for His people. He does not come with riches and influence. He comes as one who became poor.
Leader: The powers of this world are not the powers that matter most. This King is not that kind of King. He subverts the power structures of the world. He brings justice, unity, and peace. The world will never be the same after He comes.
Leader: A new future is being born. It is God’s way, the way of God’s kingdom that leads to life. The old has passed away. All things have become new.
Leader: He will stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And we will live secure, for He shall be the one of peace
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