Dec 01

4th Sunday of Advent (Year B)

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

  • How often do we assume that we know what it is that God wants?  A very well-meaning King David gets settled in his house, looks around and says, “Ya know, I bet God probably wants a house, too.”  But, God has a different vision.  God intends to make a house for David – and not the kind that is built with cedar.  What sort of “house” do we want?  And who is building it?  And what sorts of “houses” are we building for others?
  • Imagery to use along with this scripture text: building supplies (mallets, hammers, nails, wooden boards, etc).
  • If you are looking for an interesting mission project (that you could invite the whole congregation to participate in during worship), consider having 2×4 boards for people to sign – specifically, boards that can be used in the building of a Habitat for Humanity home!  People simply sign their names and write prayers and well-wishes all over a 2×4.  The boards are then used in the construction of a Habitat home, thus surrounding the family with love and prayers.  Some groups (like this one) that host 2×4 signing events ask for a donation to sign (with the money going to support Habitat), but it could easily be done in the context of a Time with Children or the Sermon during worship.  Talk with your local Habitat for Humanity organizers to see what their needs are.

Luke 1:46b-55

  • If you think you read this text last week, that’s because…well…it is entirely possible that you did.  In case you missed them, my reflections on the text (posted last week) are here.
  • Considering verse 53: the consumer culture would like to convince us that the “good things” we need are things like new cars, diamond rings, and the latest, greatest electronic gadgets.  But I seriously doubt that those are the things after which we are to hunger.  Maybe we need to pray that God will give us a better appetite, so that we crave the true “good things” in this life – things like peace, mercy, justice, and love.  Only when we are emptied of our empty desires will we be able to be hungry for the things that God seeks to provide.
  • It could be interesting to focus on the first 2 verses of this text – or even the first 3 verses.  What does it mean to “magnify the Lord”?  What does it look like when our spirits “rejoice in God our Savior”?  I admit that the first image that pops into my head when I read verse 46 is a magnifying glass.  What happens when we look at things through a magnifying glass?  What does it mean for our souls to be like magnifying glasses?  I’m still pondering this, and I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26

  • If we are going to read the words “I will sing”, then maybe we should consider singing them!  Check your hymnals and The Psalter for musical renditions of Psalm 89.  Or, if you are exceptionally musical, you could improvise a chant-like “singing” of the text yourself.
  • Putting the words of this text into practice, you could include more music (especially singing) in the worship service today.  Consider using hymns as the Call to Worship, Prayers of the People, Invitation to the Table, and other parts of the service.
  • This Psalm refers to the 2 Samuel passage for this Sunday, too – so, the references to “building” will also work well with this text.  And, if you have ever worked at a Habitat Build, then you know that people often sing while they build (or, at least, the groups that I have had the joy of working with have always had singers).

Romans 16:25-27

  • Question to ponder: how does God strengthen us “according to the Gospel”?
  • This text would make a really nice Charge and Benediction.
  • I am particularly fond of the way that this passage is worded in Eugene Peterson’s The Message.

Luke 1:26-38

  • If you are using Mary’s song (Luke 1:46-55), then here’s the story about why she’s singing.
  • The Common English Bible is really starting to make a splash, and I can understand why.  It is an extremely readable and accurate translation.  Check out the Luke passage here.
  • Since Gabriel shows up in this passage, why not consider decorating with angels?  Invite the congregation (a week in advance, at least) to bring in their favorite angel figurines or ornaments.  Use these ornaments and figurines to construct your own display of the “heavenly host” in your worship space.

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