The Sunday Project

Like the seasons

Third Sunday of Advent |

By Zinzy Nev Geene
A red candle is seen in the foreground, in the background a long row of candles
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First Reading
Zephaniah 3:14-18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
he will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Second Reading
Philippians 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again:  rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding 
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Reading
Luke 3:10-18

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none. 
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them, 
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion, 
do not falsely accuse anyone, 
and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation, 
and all were asking in their hearts 
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying, 
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn, 
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways, 
he preached good news to the people.

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"I have always known
throughout every depression
that it will someday
pass like the seasons"
it reads on this morning.
It is the ritual through which
my Sundays unfold.
I wake up early,
sit next to a laundry basket,
and fold
while reading the fresh Sunday secrets.

"I have always known
throughout every depression
that it will someday
pass like the seasons".
That is not a secret, ma'am.
That is a God-honest privilege. 
That is the exact opposite
of the way I feel
about my capacity
to see through life's
ebbs and flows.

Funny to think
that someone with such shifting
levels of faith in themself
can have such faith in Jesus,
yet here I am, and perhaps here you are.
It takes a simple
“but one mightier than I is coming"
to pull me out of whatever fog
has encapsulated me
into "come inside, it's warm".
The familiarity of the liturgical seasons.

Does that PostSecret not sound like
something Jesus would say?
To find such a deep sense
of safety in the thing you think you know?
I find it almost impossible
to sit with the discomfort
of learning to trust myself.
Like clockwork,
late December,
I return to Jesus,
and Jesus returns to me.