Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Second Sunday of Advent, December 5 – December 11, 2021 « God is gathering His people » *

The message: The coming of God’s Messiah we are waiting for this Advent is for Him to gather His people, and His purpose is that He may dwell in the midst of His people. This is His fulfillment of His promise for which He made a covenant with His people, saying, « I will be their God, and they shall be my people » Jer 31:33b . This great covenant is both the foundation and the reason of God establishing His purpose, which is to build up His Kingdom among His people. The manifestation of the fulfillment of this divine covenant is three folded. The first is to gather into one kingdom, the kingdom of Israel which had been divided into two kingdoms, the kingdom of Judah in the south and the kingdom of Ephraim in the north, according to His words: « I am about to take the stick of Joseph (which is in the hand of Ephraim) and the tribes of Israel associated with it; and I will put the stick of Judah upon it, and make them one stick, in order that they may be one in my hand » Ezek 37:19. The second is God’s gathering of Israel scattered throughout the earth, called the « diaspora » or « scattering » because of their rebellion against Him. Regarding it, He said: « I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from every quarter, and bring them to their own land. I will make them one nation in the land […] Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms » Ezek 37:21-22. The third is to gather the « Gentiles », all the nations outside of Israel, into the Kingdom of God, as it is written: « On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious » Isa 11:10. Indeed, God did not forsake His people but sent his Anointed Messiah, Jesus Christ, to bring salvation to them. He came for all mankind without exception, to gather them into the kingdom of God, according to His words: « I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd » Jn 10:16. Yes, Jesus has indeed come to gather together those who had been separated from God, who did not know God, according to His words: « For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost » Lk 19:10.

Monday, 06th: God gathers His people because He loves His. « In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away […] » Mic 4:6. Reading 1: Lk 10:1-11. Reading 2: Mic 4:1-7. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mic 4:6-7.

Introduction: God does not forsake His people, especially those who are in distress. As Father and Lord, He endeavors to gather to Himself His people whom He has purchased with the blood of His Only Begotten Son (1 Pet 1:19). These are they for whom Jesus endured, so that which was spoken by the prophet might be fulfilled: « Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper » Isa 53:10.

Tuesday, 07th: God gathers His people, all those who receive His salvation. « Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name » Rom 15:9. Reading 1: Rev 15:1-4. Reading 2: Rom 15:4-9. Peaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 15:8-9.

Introduction: God did not come only for Israel, but for all people without exception; for God made Israel to reflect His love, and from them came the Messiah to save the world. Jesus did in fact come just as the prophets predicted: « For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious » Isa 11:9b -10.

Wednesday, 08th: God gathers His people and sets His own apart. « The Lord knows those who are his » 2 Tim 2:19a . Reading 1: Mt 25:31-33. Reading 2: 2 Tim 2:14-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Tim 2:19-20.

Introduction: God does not discriminate, but makes the distinction between good and evil. For it is written: « With the loyal you show yourself loyal; with the blameless you show yourself blameless; with the pure you show yourself pure, and with the crooked you show yourself perverse » 2 Sam 22:26-27. Therefore, « Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation » Ps 24:3-5.

Thursday, 09th: God gathers His people and brings them back to Himself. « Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts » Mal 3:7b . Reading 1: Lk 19:1-10. Reading 2: Mal 3:1-7. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mal 3:7.

Introduction: Israel turned away from God, the « God who made a covenant with them » through the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And this covenant is part of the blessing for their offspring, and through their offspring, also for all nations (Gen 22:18). The Israelites were in such a great distress when separated from God, the Rock of their salvation (Ps 89:26). To bring God’s people back to Him, that was the purpose of sending Jesus to preach: « Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near » Mt 4:17.

Friday, 10th: God gathers His people because He is near. « […] You know that the kingdom of God is near » Lk 21:31. Reading 1: Isa 51:4-8. Reading 2: Lk 21:25-36. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 21:28-31.

Introduction: The Lord is drawing near and His coming is imminent. He is not a distant God but is close to all who call upon Him and a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6b ). He still really calls, saying: « Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon » Isa 55:6-7.

Saturday, 11th: God gathers His people, and warns them to watch for His coming. « You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour » Lk 12:40. Reading 1: Amo 4:7-13. Reading 2: Lk 12:35-40. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 12:40.

Introduction: Jesus will come in the glory of His Father according to His prayer: « So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed » Jn 17:5. The coming of the Messiah is salvation for those who believe in Him, and condemnation for those who reject Him (Mk 16:16, 2 Tim 2:12b ). And His kingdom is already in all those who believe in Him (Lk 17:21) and look forward to and wait for His coming. To them, Jesus said: « Surely I am coming soon » Rev 22:20.

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