Advent Daybook, 11: They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people's shoulders

My Advent daybook for these 24 days of waiting. Join me, won't you? (see previous Advent daybook 2017 posts here)

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In Kenya, a man carries a big sack at the country's biggest dumpsite in the capital, Nairobi, ahead of a ban on the use of plastic bags. August 2017, Reuters ( source )

In Kenya, a man carries a big sack at the country's biggest dumpsite in the capital, Nairobi, ahead of a ban on the use of plastic bags. August 2017, Reuters (source)

music for today: "Behold, Behold (Revelation)"  (lyrics)

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Listen to this, you who walk all over the weak, you who treat poor people as less than nothing, Who say, “When’s my next paycheck coming so I can go out and live it up? How long till the weekend when I can go out and have a good time?” Who give little and take much, and never do an honest day’s work. You exploit the poor, using them — and then, when they’re used up, you discard them.

God swears against the arrogance of Jacob: “I’m keeping track of their every last sin.” God’s oath will shake earth’s foundations, dissolve the whole world into tears. God’s oath will sweep in like a river that rises, flooding houses and lands, And then recedes, leaving behind a sea of mud.

“On Judgment Day, watch out!” These are the words of God, my Master. “I’ll turn off the sun at noon. In the middle of the day the earth will go black. I’ll turn your parties into funerals and make every song you sing a dirge. Everyone will walk around in rags, with sunken eyes and bald heads. Think of the worst that could happen —your only son, say, murdered. That’s a hint of Judgment Day —that and much more.

“Oh yes, Judgment Day is coming!”
These are the words of my Master God.”


” ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ “


”Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. ... The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
— Amos 8:4-11a (MSG), Psalm 38:1-4, Revelation 2:2-7 & Matthew 23:1-4,11-12 (ESV)

* Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2).

prayer for today:

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Revelation 1:17-18, NIV

Lord our God, we thank you with all our hearts that Jesus Christ still lives today and that we may believe in him and call upon him as our Savior. We thank you for him who sees to the depths of our human misery and calls right into the midst of it, “Do not be afraid. I am with you. I live. I am your helper. No matter how insignificant you are, fear not, for I, Jesus Christ, shine into all the darkness, even into the darkness of sin and death, into all the judgment that has fallen or is still to come upon everyone on Earth.” Praise to your name, Lord our God! You are great and almighty and beyond our understanding. But you have sent us the Savior whom we can understand, and we rejoice that we may have community with him in your presence. Amen.
— Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt (1842–1919), via

10.FB.drink water.png

Fast from all beverages today except water. As you think about the way water sustains you, recall the passage from Amos we read last week: "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Pray for not only the metaphorical living water of life and justice to roll across the lands, but also for the literal, physical needs many have for clean, abundant water.

Here's an excellent resource to know how to help those in need of water: Hope On A Thousand Hills.

(see all Advent daybook posts from 2016 here)