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The First Candle of the

Justpeace Advent Wreath

Archbishop Oscar Romero Martyr of El Salvador

Meditation on the lectionary readings for the First Sunday of Advent

It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.

The words of Archbishop Oscar Romero who was martyred in San Salvador in 1980

Let us in unity pray to the Lord:

For the world in which we and all others live:

May an age of peace descend upon every land and

may the rains of God's justice fall upon all peoples.

Crossing the threshold to the third Millennium,

may every nation learn to grow in wisdom, grace and joy.

For the peoples of every nation:

May the lowly be lifted up,

and the hungry filled with every good thing.

In the age to come may the lowly and the powerful,

the hungry and the rich, share in both need and gift,

remembering the promise of God's mercy.

(Prayers prepared by the Diocese of Helena, Office of Worship)

Meditation on the lectionary readings for the First Sunday of Advent

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