When can we dream,
if not in this season of Advent?

When can we make room
in our hearts, in our worship, in our preaching,
for the possibility of something wildly and divinely new,
if not in Advent?

The LORD has sent you to dream of protesters draped in garlands not ashes,
of the poor and mourning marked by oil rather than sackcloth,
of churches resounding with praise not silence, so that
all the world sees this planting of the LORD,
this seed of a hope of God’s glory.
(Isaiah 61:3)

The LORD has called us to dream
of restoration for all people, of justice and relationship
raining down in abundance so much that we laugh and sing together
and no one says, “See how they fight and rage; see how they crush
their own brothers & sisters under the weight of inequity,”
but rather “See how the LORD lives through them.”
(Psalm 126:2)

God has given the world a song
that imagines a so-called welfare mother bearing
God into the world, a boy of color meant to save the world;
a song that recasts the mother as blessed
and praises the boy as Lord.
(Luke 1:46b-48)

Rejoice always.

Testify to the light.

Preach God’s imagination.

Sisters and friends, for your sermon preparation for the upcoming Third Sunday in Advent, the Sunday of joy in the middle of a season of public outcry over injustices, I particularly commend to you two reflections by the Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce of Princeton Theological Seminary: If Advent Is Real and A Litany For Those Who Aren’t Ready For Healing. The list of scripture readings for this Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary can be found here.

What are you preaching this Sunday? What are you pondering? Share your ideas, questions, wonderings in the comments for further conversation. Blessings, all!

9 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: A Garland instead of Ashes

  1. I’m preaching on the Luke text, Mary’s song, and I think I’ll also talk a little bit about the O Antiphons because I learned today that they were crafted to go with Mary’s song http://links.presbyterianchurch.mkt6217.com/servlet/MailView?ms=MjE3OTU0NDAS1&r=Nzg2MjM0MDY0MzUS1&j=NDYwNDA4NTAwS0&mt=1&rt=0. And I’m pondering the links you gave us above (thank you!), along with the response in our Bible study Sunday night to the question “What is your favorite part of Advent?” One of our group said he loved the anticipation of Advent. I said, “What are you anticipating?” He said, “Renewal.” My heart did a little leap of joy at that answer. That’s what I’m always hoping for! We talked last week about making room for peace, so this week might need to be about making room for joy.


    1. “Renewal” — what a great answer!

      And “making room” is a rich theme for Advent preaching — in our hearts, in our relationships, in our church spaces, in our public spaces. Love it!


  2. We are celebrating the Feast of Guadalupe with flor y canto(flowers and song). We’ll be hearing Guadalupe’s story, the song of Zechariah (Canticle 16 to Episcopalians) and the Magnificat. I preach this feast day every year. Don’t know what direction I’m taking this year, but I suspect it will be linked to the songs we sing. I’m hoping to do a page of resources for preaching this story and have it up on my blog later today.


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