Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Last week's sermon at St. John's focused on the Collect for the First Sunday Advent. This week's Collect also has a lot in it to focus our thoughts and prayers. We look back to the prophets of Israel, and particularly in Advent to John the Baptist who invites us to prepare the way for the Lord in the wilderness.
Our world can seem like a dark wilderness sometimes, with little hope. The warnings of the prophets are meant to direct us to the hope of a better, brighter world, to the Reign of God. That's why we Christians give witness to that hope in our lives and that's why one of the three key elements of our identity at St. John's is "prophetic social witness." What exactly does that mean?
While we can't do everything to proclaim our hope for a new world, we can do some things. One focus is our continuing stand against gun violence, while environmental justice may be another. Two events are happening to put flesh on those words. First, this Sunday, some of us will gather after the 11:00 a.m. mass to think about ways we can respond to the environmental crisis enveloping the planet. Kelly Coyne will lead that conversation. Then on Tuesday, before evening prayer, you're invited to come make another public declaration against gun violence on the plaza in front of the Cathedral, as we join the national commemoration for the 6th anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
As we continue this Advent Season, let's join the prophets in preparing the way of the Lord "that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer."