Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Matthew with St. Chad, Smethwick

2nd Sunday before Advent

15 Nov 2020, midnight

Readings: Zephaniah 1v7&12-18; Psalm 90v1-11; 1 Thessalonians 5v1-11; Matthew 25v14-30

Prayer: May the words of my mouth and the thoughts and meditations of all our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen

A word from Lucy: At this time of year, it is traditional to think about the four last things: the end of time, judgement, hell and heaven. The reading from the prophet Zephaniah is a wakeup call to us all because it warns that we are heading towards the day of judgement with speed and when it arrives it will be a day of fury and the end of the earth and everyone who has sinned and not turned back to the Lord will be destroyed. The psalm is a reminder that God is eternal and our creator and we are mortal beings that live for a short while, then die and return to dust. It is a reminder that God knows everything we are and everything we do and even if we live long lives that life is short. It is also a reminder that God is furious with our sins and has the power to destroy us. The letter from Paul reminds that we are to encourage and help one another because the Day of the Lord will come suddenly and without warning. Paul also reminds that even though we do not know the time or date when this will happen that we should always be ready by wearing faith and love as a breastplate and our hope of salvation as a helmet. Finally, Paul reminds that God does not want us to suffer his anger instead God wants us to possess salvation through Jesus who died for us so we might live forever with Him when he comes. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus uses a story about the settling of accounts to forewarn us about the time of judgement. In this story we hear that the man, who fell short and was found wanting, lost everything and was thrown into a place of crying and the gnashing of teeth.

These readings are a stark reminder to me that, no matter when it is due, the end of time is very near. Then, when it comes, we shall be judged and either thrown into a place of sorrow or invited to live with the Lord forever. Today, I believe that we all have a choice to make and I implore you to choose to: stop sinning, turn back to the Lord and begin living lives of faith, hope and love. For, no matter who we are or what we have done, the Lord will welcome us back because Jesus died for our sins.

Prayer: Day by day dear Lord, of you 3 things we pray: to see you more clearly to love you more dearly and to follow you more nearly, day by day.