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by Bishop Mary Glasspool

One nickname for the Third Sunday in Advent is Stir-up Sunday, from the opening words of Collect for the Day: Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us! This gets us ready (if we aren’t already!) for the shocking words of Luke’s Gospel — in which John the Baptist storms around the desert screaming at the people who have come out to be baptized by him: You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance.

Wherever you are in your life’s journey, however you might hear this mixture of messages, wherever you might need God’s touch today, know that God is coming and God is already here. We are to rejoice, and not take our identities as children of God for granted. We are to understand our need for God, and know that God counts on us, too.

Perhaps the complexity of messages today can best be expressed in the words of St. Augustine:

Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not.

Excerpted from Bishop Glasspool’s message “The Pink Candle” in the Episcopal News Weekly.