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candleAdvent draws expectant attention to an arrival of one divinely anointed to fix the mess we’re in. It’s a season that both highlights the chaos of a violent world and the pregnant promise of its resolution. Advent’s themes are in tension – no more so this week than when the siege in Sydney and the horrendous Peshawar school massacre heightened the world’s sensitivities. Can the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love really win through? Expressions of community solidarity gave life to the maxim “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

This morning’s text from Romans16:25-27 serves a similar “lighting of the candle” function. It is sometimes repeated at the conclusion of church services as worshippers prepare to leave the sanctuary to return to the chaos of everyday living.

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.

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