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Advent Through the Centuries – the second Century

Every day during advent (December 1 to December 24) I’ll be posting a scripture reading, a short passage by a pastor, theologian, or church father, and a prayer. Each day will follow one century of church history, so today will be 100-200. Tomorrow will be 200-300, and so on. Some days will be more closely related to advent than others, depending on the availability of texts. This has been posted before, but I’ve updated the scripture readings and in some cases the historical texts too. Enjoy.

Friday, December 2
The Second Century of the Church

Scripture:

Isaiah 29:17-24

Is it not true that in a very short time the Lebanon will become productive ground, so productive you might take it for a forest?

That day the deaf will hear the words of the book and, delivered from shadow and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.

The lowly will find ever more joy in Yahwehand the poorest of people will delight in the Holy One of Israel;

for the tyrant will be no more, the scoffer has vanished and all those on the look-out for evil have been destroyed:

those who incriminate others by their words, those who lay traps for the arbitrator at the gate and groundlessly deprive the upright of fair judgement.

That is why Yahweh, God of the House of Jacob, Abraham’s redeemer, says this, ‘No longer shall Jacob be disappointed, no more shall his face grow pale,

for when he sees his children, my creatures, home again with him, he will acknowledge my name as holy, he will acknowledge the Holy One of Jacob to be holy and will hold the God of Israel in awe.

Erring spirits will learn to understand and murmurers accept instruction.’

Reading: 
2 Clement c.130-160 AD. Full text here.

BRETHREN, it is fitting that you should think of Jesus Christ as of God,–as the Judge of the living and the dead. And it does not become us to think lightly of our salvation; for if we think little of Him, we shall also hope but to obtain little [from Him]. And those of us who hear carelessly of these things, as if they were of small importance, commit sin, not knowing whence we have been called, and by whom, and to what place, and how much Jesus Christ submitted to suffer for our sakes.

What return, then, shall we make to Him, or what fruit that shall be worthy of that which He has given to us? For, indeed, how great are the benefits which we owe to Him! He has graciously given us light; as a Father, He has called us sons; He has saved us when we were ready to perish. What praise, then, shall we give to Him, or what return shall we make for the things which we have received? We were deficient in understanding, worshipping stones and wood, and gold, and silver, and brass, the works of men’s hands; and our whole life was nothing else than death. Involved in blindness, and with such darkness before our eyes, we have received sight, and through His will have laid aside that cloud by which we were enveloped.

For He had compassion on us, and mercifully saved us, observing the many errors in which we were entangled, as well as the destruction to which we were exposed, and that we had no hope of salvation except it came to us from Him. For He called us when we were not, and willed that out of nothing we should attain a real existence.

fresco from beneath the Vatican, dating to the 2nd-3rd century.
fresco from beneath the Vatican, dating to the 2nd-3rd century.

Prayer:
Polycarp, c. 110-140

May God the Father, and the Eternal High Priest Jesus Christ, build us up in faith and truth and love, and grant to us our portion among the saints with all those who believe on our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for all saints, for kings and rulers, for the enemies of the Cross of Christ, and for ourselves we pray that our fruit may abound and we may be made perfect in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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