Week one Advent Candle: Hope
Written by interim Senior Pastor of Third Presbyterian Church , John Porter
Reader: During this season we light candles to mark the character of our preparation for the advent of God’s Kingdom.
People: This first week of Advent we reflect on the Hope to which God calls us.
Reader: Hope is not blind to suffering and injustice
People: But Hope believes that they will not win the day
Reader: Hope does not retreat in the face of overwhelming resistance
People: Those who answer the call to hope act with courage trusting that God’s victory is sure.
Reader: With courage inspired by the Holy Spirit let us answer the call to hope.
Reader: The prophet Isaiah proclaims; Isaiah 51:4-6
What I’ve been thinking about with these passages:
Advent (especially the first week): Waiting, hoping, believing that God will be gracious.
Naming the child John signifies gracious.
Waiting involves listening. Listening needs silence.
And… passages about barren women having babies are problematic for women who struggle to conceive… and I’m still not sure how to talk about that from the pulpit.
I had big plans that my “advent” blog articles would be amazing and I have a few ideas percolating for other weeks… but the first week got away from me. Maybe there is something to putting out a blog post that is far less polished than I would like it to be and simply saying, I’m mute, and I’m listening. And perhaps my silence will allow the holy spirit to work in me later. Here’s hoping.
 Matthew Henry’s Free Online Commentary available through Biblegateway: in Hebrew Johanan, a name we often meet in the Old Testament: it signifies gracious. The priests must beseech God that he will be gracious (Mal. 1:9), and must so bless the people, Num. 6:25. Zacharias was now praying thus, and the angel tells him that his prayer is heard, and he shall have a son, whom, in token of an answer to his prayer, he shall call Gracious, or, The Lord will be gracious, Isa. 30:18, 19.