The third Sunday of Advent is when God’s people experience and express great joy at the coming of our Lord Jesus. This is the liturgy we’re reading at GCR Church this Sunday. Please use this in any way that would be helpful for you or your church this week.
When God’s people were surrounded by hardship, suffering, and grief, the Lord’s prophet proclaimed in Isaiah 61:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives,
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and to provide for those who grieve in Zion.”
We come today as people who are also surrounded by suffering and grief. And yet, the Spirit hovers among us, caring and anointing, inspiring freedom where there is captivity, declaring blessing in places the world has cursed, and in places of mourning and heartache, igniting an unquenchable joy. Our coming Lord Jesus proclaims in John 16:
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets this anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you. Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy!”
Congregation: We wait as people who experience hardship and pain, yet we are called to witness to the persistent joy that sustains our life as God’s people.
We light this candle as a symbol of our Christian joy. May our lives shine with the joyful Light who lives in our hearts as we wait and work for the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.