Living the Lectionary – the CHEER

Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship. 

About this Season and Series: Advent – “The WAIT” – Advent is a time of considering the wisdom of “delayed gratification”. We recognize that there is wisdom and health that comes from waiting to be contented. Advent shows us a picture of that wisdom as we wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to come. 

About the week starting December 13th: Third Sunday in Advent – The CHEER – The Christian response to the world of being joyful even in the midst of difficulties shows the willingness to wait for something good. Law: Living in a sinful world means that we are discouraged and led to doubt many times because of the brokenness of sin we see around us. Gospel: God sets us free from sin and sets our hearts to sing, even in the midst of times that seem unsingable.

Reflecting on the Readings (readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com)

Zephaniah 3:14-20– Sing Aloud – Zephaniah is not normally this “cheery”. In fact, most of Zephaniah’s book is a stark call to repentance. But here, God calls His people to sing and promises to sing over them in return. (vs. 17). What songs might you sing (in the shower if need be) to show your joy in God’s salvation?

Psalm 85– Cheer Again – This Psalm was likely penned to be used in worship for the people of Israel who returned after the exile in Babylon. They were in the midst of a devastated land, but know they have been released from Babylon for the sake of God’s glory. Here they ask for that glory to be apparent among them. What are the “devastations” that are present in your life that God has called you back to in order to renew His glory? How might you trust in Him for that glory as you read this Psalm again?

Philippians 4:4-7 – Rejoice! Always! – It may seem strange, even preposterous to us to consider rejoicing *always*. Our lives certainly have moments of sadness, frustration, and all sorts of other emotions that do not necessarily lead us to rejoice. But what Paul calls for here is to embrace a peace that surpasses our circumstance and transcends our context – the peace that we have in Jesus. How might you set aside your circumstances and context this week in order to rejoice?

Luke 7:18-28– What Have You Seen? – We are relatively unsure where John the Baptizer’s faith was at the point of this story. Was he sending his disciples to ask for himself? Or was he sending them so that they could hear the answer directly from Jesus? Regardless, Jesus’ answer is clear – the Messianic age has arrived, and blessed are those who recognize it. What do you recognize today that gives you assurance that the Messiah has come and will come again?

Living the Lectionary Ideas

Knowledge: The songs of the Christian Church, called hymns, are filled with rich language – but also rich backgrounds. Read more about some of your favorite hymns at “Stories Behind the Hymns”.

Skill: It is a laudable skill for a Christian to learn how he or she might put away sadness and rejoice in Jesus Christ. How do you do this? Listening to a certain kind of music? Studying a certain thing? How might you grow in your skill of rejoicing?

Character: All through Advent, we are encouraged to engage with the character of patience. How do these readings engender patience in you?

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