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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent 3 - Reflection - Of prayer and prophets



During Advent, the Social Justice group is asking the people of All Saints to reflect on a portion of Advent scripture in a context of Justice. The SJ group hopes these  brief reflections  assist in your studies and prayers in the week ahead. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 

Rejoice always
Pray without ceasing
Give thanks in all circumstances
For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise the words of prophets
But test everything
Hold fast to what is good
Abstain from every form of evil
May the God of peace himself
Sanctify you entirely
And may your spirit and soul and body be kept
Sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The One who calls you is faithful and He will do this.

Two things stand out in these words which may not be as well understood in these times as in other periods.  Firstly, how do we pray without ceasing? The Eastern Church commends the Jesus Prayer, the Prayer of the Heart. -  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

This simple prayer is said repeatedly, over and over again, so often that one discovers that the prayer almost says itself in one’s heart and mind.  Thus its unceasing quality. 

Secondly, is the concept of “prophets”. Paul lists prophecy among the spiritual gifts at the service of the church.  What is prophecy? Who is a prophet? Prophecy is often thought of as foretelling the future.  This can be the case but is not the whole story. Some put emphasis on forthtelling rather than foretelling which is wise.  However, there is one thing in the Scriptures that is common to the prophets found there.  That is a concern for justice – God’s justice.  Work for justice within the church and the world is part of God’s prophetic gift to us. 

Justice is a project of restoration, reconciliation, and wholeness.

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