Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Third Week in Advent

On the third Sunday of Advent, we light the rose-colored candle in addition to the two purple candles from earlier weeks. We evangelicals call this rose candle the Shepherd Candle, although why this week's candle is rose is not clear at all. But when we recall the more liturgical traditions of Advent denote this candle as being the Heaven Candle for Gaudette (joyful) Sunday, the lightening of the penitential purple to rose makes much more sense.

The Collect (collective prayer) for the Third week of Advent in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer reads:

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

At Lake Murray, the families lighting the candles during First and again at Second Service read Scriptures from the 40th chapter of the Prophecy of Isaiah, starting at the eighth verse:

"The grass withers, the flowers fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, 'Behold your God!' Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bososm, and gently lead those that are with young" (English Standard Version).

So at Lake Murray and at home we lit the three candles for the Third Week of Advent, ever keeping our sights on the One who came to earth as a humble infant and will come again with all His glorious and terrible majesty to judge the living and the dead. Rejoice, for His kingdom shall never end!

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