“Receive One Another to the Glory of God”
December 8, 2019 (2nd Sunday of Advent, Peace Sunday)
Here is a compelling theme and message for your sermon and worship on December 8th, the 2nd Sunday of Advent ("Peace Sunday"). We also include an On Earth Peace "Moment in Mission" printable bulletin insert, and full lectionary readings. This is a challenging juxtaposition of verses, calling for us to receive each other, and at the same time reject certain faults in ourselves.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” -- Romans 15:4-7 (KJV)
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” -- Matthew 3:7-8 (KJV)
Churches throughout the world are reading both of these verses today on this Second Sunday of Advent, to celebrate anticipation of the coming birth of Jesus the Prince of Peace. Does anyone see a tension in these messages? One tells us to receive one another, while in the other John the Baptist seems to reject the Pharisees and Sadducees instead of receiving them.
Maybe there is no contradiction? We don’t know, maybe John did baptize them after he gave them this warning? But what about this, from the other two Advent Peace Sunday verses?
“But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” -- Isaiah 11:4 (KJV)
“He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.” -- Psalms 72:4 (KJV)
Even if this is figurative language, the poetics here use violent images in three of these four verses -- on this, Advent Peace Sunday -- to get us to reject something in or among ourselves that is inconsistent with the Peace of Jesus. When we look at all four verses together (and the whole Bible itself), what this something is becomes clear -- our oppression of others, instead of receiving one another as made in the image of and to the glory of God.
The apparent tension here between the first passage from Romans and the other Bible quotes, reveals the truth of one of the six principles of Kingian Nonviolence which we use in our work.
“Attack systems of evil, not persons doing evil.”
-- Principle #3: Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation
On this 2nd Sunday of Advent (Peace Sunday), On Earth Peace invites us all to ponder this dynamic connection between receiving one another, and rejecting oppression of any other. We also invite you to take up a special offering to support our faithful work for justice and peace.
Here is a beautiful bulletin insert you can use to print this "Moment in Mission" message.
Here are the full lectionary readings for 2nd Sunday of Advent, Peace Sunday, this year.