Read Psalm 33:1-11

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous.

Praise befits the upright.

Praise the LORD with the lyre;

make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.

Sing to him a new song;

play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the LORD is upright,

and all his work is done in faithfulness.

He loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,

and all their host by the breath of his mouth.

He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;

he put the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the LORD;

let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

For he spoke, and it came to be;

he commanded, and it stood firm.

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;

he frustrates the plans of the peoples.

The counsel of the LORD stands forever,

the thoughts of his heart to all generations.


from Rev. William Flewelling

Proctor, WV

Caught in the thriving urgency of expectation, all the rife anticipation for the breaking-in of ecstasy, the blossoming exposure of the consummation of a fervent age in one surpassing presence of the Lord at last – caught thus, we stagger (as it seems) within the throes of newly redefining paradigms of joy. Upon this brink within the now (as Paul would put it), the time that is of end-time quality, held in a bated breath upon eternity’s ecstatic joy, the coming of the Lord is sensed. The Greek is parousia – usually translated as ‘second coming’ but meaning ‘coming to presence’, an exposure to an intensely intimate immersion into Christ. It is, entirely, the season (from the start until the breaking dawn) of thoroughgoing joy, the time of righteousness, the time of resonating harmony by the stir of active faith with the certain character exposed in Jesus.

With such an Advent energizing focus brought to hearth of heart, the heating of the soul, we find ourselves discovering anew the sense of upright – wherein we find a parallel to Jesus, to the gentle instincts of divine allure become the harmony of our desire. This harmony has a gyroscopic effect, an urgent counter the tumult of the context we find everywhere as heaving seas: we are righted in the clarity transposing our deceitful dissonance about us all the days by this indulgent urgency of faith engaging us directly. Hence we find our yielding to the attitude of grace beguiling us into a humble mode of righteousness – for thus our God invites of us with extraordinary, subtle qualities of life.

So in this transformation, the drawing of our ordinary ways into the throes of divine delight, we entertain revision of our thoughts. For in this bold anticipation, this apt expectation, we come to realize that every sense of who and how we are any more – it is best described as ‘in the Lord’: that is where we are, the context of everything we engage in life, the baleful as well as the beautiful. We are in a place where the only thing we find natural is to rejoice, rejoice in the thoroughgoing graciousness of our Lord God. Praise – the offering in free abandon of our prize, our greatest self – is all that fits us anymore. And so we live, anticipating a bliss sublime enough to exercise full joy.

Our God, observe the wonder you induce in us,

the beauty and the bounty roused in us,

our singular, enticing offering, oblation of our souls,

our prize in utter love to you in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.