Green Advent Bible Study

All Creation Waits

Greening the Congregation at Advent

 

Bible Study

Reflect upon the relationship between the Advent season and care for creation with your congregation, using lectionary texts. 

 

Advent One: Prepare the Way of the Lord

Isaiah 40:3-11

• Read verse aloud at least twice, from different voices

• Throughout Isaiah is woven the theme of God’s presence in all historical action. • This chapter was written during a period of exile, of longing to return to Jerusalem.

• Much of the language is echoed in the preaching of John the Baptist.

• How is God contrasted to elements of creation; what is implied by this, or, how does God relate to the created world?  (Reading further into chapter 40 may provide some insight)?

• What is your reaction to the proclamation that people wither like the grass?

• What is the response to the lament that people are like grass (v9-10, especially)?

• What do you make of the metaphors describing how to prepare the way of the Lord? Is this anything humans can reasonably accomplish?

• How do we prepare for major events (not just holidays)? Does this chapter seem to approach preparedness?

• Pray together for calm in preparation, for the comfort of God as a shepherd cradles his lambs.

 

Advent Two: As the Lilies of the Field

Luke 12:22-30

• Read verse aloud at least twice, from different voices.

• Often, environmental practices are closely related to simplifying and paring down certain aspects of life. Luke’s Gospel uses metaphors drawn from nature to describe God’s desire that we not worry about material things.

• What are your initial reactions to the passage?

• Does being told not to worry feel liberating, or anxiety inducing?

• Read again verse 30, how will God provide?

• What are some of your main material concerns during the holiday season? How could they cause less anxiety?

• Are there positive environmental benefits to trimming Christmas celebrations?

• Or, will simplifying celebrations in turn be good environmental practices.

• Pray together for rest for anxious souls, for God to provide for those who lack shelter or clothing. 

 

Advent Three: All Creation Praises

Psalm 96

• Read verse aloud at least twice, from different voices. Or, sing the psalm once through and then read it again.

• The psalm praises the Lord as king; some connect psalms of this nature to be for New Year festivals, when God was symbolically re-enthroned.

• How are natural elements personified? How do they give praise to God?

• Share any experiences you have of feeling as if creation was in praise. What would be lost if we could not identify with creation’s praise?

• The psalm seems to imply that God rules all creation, not just humanity; do we treat creation as such?

• What are ways that we can give praise to God that also honors God’s good creation?

• Together offer prayers for God’s creation, and for God’s continued blessing upon creation.

 

Advent Four: From Humblest Beginnings

Luke 2:1-20

• Read verse aloud at least twice, from different voices.

• This is the all too familiar story we will read on Christmas Eve from Luke’s Gospel. It shows how Jesus’ entry into the world was marked.

• What is most striking in this passage, or what is an image you haven’t noticed before?

• Which of these actions (from the angels or shepherds) remain in our Christmas celebrations?

• Do the shepherds do anything prior to visiting the child? Should we follow this example?

• What are ways that we can retain the simple and powerful joy of the angels visit in our own time, both in our Christmas worship and at home?

• Together offer prayers of thanksgiving for Christ’s coming into the world

 

Comments