Collect for 1st Sunday in Advent
COLLECT OF THE DAY
Let us pray. Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
God must have a heart for cowboys because three out of four Sundays in Advent – the First Second, and Third Sunday in Advent – we start our Collect of the Day by asking God to “Stir up…” It is a bad pun, but one worthy of my Tuesday confirmation class dad jokes.
Today we ask God to stir up His power to bear on the threatening perils of our sins and to save us by a mighty deliverance. If this problem takes God’s stirred up power, it must be a big one. But the problem is the threatening peril of our own sins. We are used to looking out and seeing some threat on the horizon requiring either that we fight or flee. But this problem is inside us. We are the problem. It is our sin which threatens us. We need God’s power to come and deal with it, to rescue us from a peril which stares back at us in the mirror.
I am aware of just how annoying Tuesday confirmation dad jokes could be. In fact, that might be the most enjoyable aspect of them. It is difficult
to restrain oneself from telling a good dad joke (How do you know elephants are good at hiding in trees? Because you’ve never see one in the trees.) When the opportunity presents itself, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. But isn’t that just a little bit of our way with Sin? We need God to rescue us from ourselves. We just cannot help ourselves. Dad jokes are fairly innocent. Eliciting eye-rolls and groans is not such a bad thing. But a sinful bent toward lying, a predilection to lust, a heart deformed by greed or envy. Those things cause real problems, not only between my neighbor and me, but also with God.
Yes, God, stir up that power because my heart needs serious remodeling. In fact, remodeling may not be enough. My heart and my life stand condemned, ready for the wrecking ball of death. But even that is not beyond God’s power to save and restore. Stir up that resurrecting power, O Lord. I need it.
Today’s “a devotion for you…” is edited, revised and adapted, with permission, from original content from colleague and friend, Phil Brandt.