Advent Devotional Guide: Week Two
The Second Coming and Hope
Two realities are set before us—present suffering and future glory. Biblical Christianity never asks us to minimize the reality of brokenness and heartache in this life. Indeed, the whole creation groans harmoniously with us in a chorus of aching for restoration. We are free to be honest. But then we are called to consider what awaits us with the return of Christ. In His coming our experience as children of God is fully realized. All things will be made new by the light of His presence—from to greatest societal sin to the most personal pain. As we hold this future state in our minds, pining in the Spirit for its fullness, the glory of our returning Savior helps us have hopeful context for our current weariness. Come quickly Lord Jesus!
In the meantime, Jesus, may we see You and what You’re about in our daily moments.
“A Christian views the suffering of this life in a larger, world-transcending context that, while not alleviating its present intensity, transcends it with the confines expectation that suffering is not the final word.”
“Weighted in the scales of true and lasting values, the sufferings endured in this life are light indeed compared with the splendor for the life to come—a life undisturbed by anything hostile or hurtful.”
Questions for Discussion
Discuss with others, with your Gospel Community, or by reflecting in your journal.
- Where are areas you feel your soul groaning, inwardly awaiting for Christ to make things right? (Hardship, injustice, broken relationships, personal struggles, etc). What are honest ways to lean into these groans that both embrace real pain and the equally real redeeming promise of Jesus?
- In this Sunday’s sermon, Neil mentioned a number of things the new creation will usher in: “only peace, only kindness, only fruit, only rest, only excitement.” We experience some of these things here on earth, but not in their full, redeemed glory. Isn’t that exciting? There is more to peace, more to goodness, more to joy than we can possibly imagine here and now. What are redeemed things you long to experience in full? Is this hard to imagine?
Weekly Prayer Invitations
- Individually, with your co-workers, or with your household, pray the the Lord’s Prayer 1–3 times a day (morning, noon, and night):
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
(From Matthew 6:9–13)
- Join us for weekly prayer on Wednesdays, December 30–December 21, at 12pm in the Gallery at the church building. Consider also fasting from breakfast and/or lunch. New to fasting? Here are some thoughts.
A song for the week
The Gates (Young Oceans, from “Advent“)
Prayer by Ray Ortlund:
O Father, a new heavens, a new earth, a new humanity—how wide is the scope of Your Gospel! It does not offer me a private religious preference. It leads me into the secrets of the universe. I affirm Your plan for all things. I submit myself to Your will for my particular life, including the hardships You have ordained for me. Lead me into the brilliant glory just ahead, where my tears will be wiped away forever, where the sorrows of this life will be only a fading memory, swallowed up in a heavenly ocean of pure delight. O God, I long to be lifted up out of time, out of this present age, out of my sins, to be with You forever. Keep my heart ablaze for You, dear Lord, until You take me home. In the holy name of Christ. Amen.
Prayer by Anselm (1033–1109):
I pray, O God, that I may know You, that I may love You, so that I may rejoice in You. And if I cannot do this to the full in this life, at least let me go forward from day to day until that joy comes to fullness. Let the knowledge of You go forward in me here, and there let it be made full. Let love for You increase, and there let it be full, so that here my joy may be great in hope and there it may be full in reality. O Lord, through Your Son, You command us—rather, You counsel us—to ask, and You promise that we shall receive, that our joy may be full. O Lord, I ask what You counsel through our wonderful Counselor. Let me receive what You promise through Your truth, that my joy may be full. Meanwhile, let my mind meditate upon it, let my tongue speak of it. Let my heart love it, let my tongue discourse upon it. Let my soul hunger for it, let my flesh thirst for it, let my whole being desire it, until I enter into the joy of my Lord, who is the triune and one God, blessed forever. Amen.
Advent: Christ Will Come Again—Artwork
Artwork is another way for us to imagine the realities of Christ’s kingdom. When art works as devotion—training us to see with the eyes of faith in new ways—it can grow our imagination, even in the theological sense. To learn more about our artwork for this Advent series, use the button below.Advent Artwork Explanation