Sunday 13th December
The Extraordinary Gift of Hope: Advent Reflections
Written jointly by MWiB and All We Can, these reflections were originally printed in the Methodist Recorder, 27th November 2020. Our hope is that as you read, reflect and pray, you will get a glimpse into the life-transforming work of All We Can, an international development charity working to transform the lives of people living in marginalised communities around the world, and Methodist Women in Britain, a charity within the Methodist Church focusing on tackling issues of social justice and empowering women in churches and communities around the world. To find out more, visit:
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Hope is a constant need for the human condition. Without it there is no progress, no moving on. Through Advent there is hope in each day, combined with an expectation of something worthwhile. As we enter Advent with expectation and preparation, our prayer is that you will be filled afresh with the hope we find in Jesus.
(N.B. This reflection involves the lighting of a candle.)
Advent 3 – Baptised in Hope
When hope is shared it becomes stronger, and grows. And as it grows, hope brings healing, refreshment and encouragement. Like clean water in a community, its benefits are many, and far reaching.
Read: Matthew 3: 11–17
John the Baptist, the prophet who encourages us to ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’ (Mark 1: 3), knows the cleansing power of water. The baptism of repentance. He points his own followers, and all who listen, to the one who will come after him. To Jesus. The baptism that Jesus offers is powerful. A hope of redemption. A baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. The precious water which is poured over each person being baptised ties us to Jesus’ own baptism. We follow his lead.
For families that All We Can works with in rural Zimbabwe, access to safe water sources is vital if they are to drink clean water and be able to regularly wash their hands. Regular hand-washing can help to prevent the spread of deadly diseases like cholera and viruses like coronavirus. The reminder of the cleansing and life-giving nature of water is a daily experience.
In Bolivia urban migration is common, often necessitated by the privatisation of water supplies in poor rural communities. Women are especially vulnerable, often ending up living and working on the streets with their children. With money raised by Methodist women around the UK, Tabita House in La Paz is able to provide skills training and safe accommodation for displaced women and their children.
During Advent, we can all cry out like John the Baptist as we prepare for Jesus’s arrival.
How do you need to be preparing for Jesus this Advent? What parts of your life do you hope to see God’s redeeming love at work in?
As you light your candle, take a moment to think about the precious role of water in your own life, in the lives of families in Zimbabwe, and families in Bolivia denied access to clean water.
Light your candle
Pray: Lord, you baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire and in doing so give me a hope which only you can fulfil. Come, Lord Jesus, and flood my heart with hope. Amen.
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You can download the full series of Advent reflections here