The text for our devotion on the First Sunday in Advent is the Old Testament Reading, and we read an excerpt from Luther’s Works, Volume 17.
1 Corinthians 1:3–9
Mark 11:1–10 or Mark 13:24–37
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
Though we are born sinners, God has redeemed us through the precious blood of His Son. He sends His promised Holy Spirit into our hearts to sanctify us and keep us in the true faith. He is the Potter, molding us for His purpose and according to His will.
Yet, O Lord, Thou art our Father. We have heard that impassioned prayer, full of unutterable sobs, where the prophet amasses all the reasons that would enable him to strengthen faith and influence God. In the end he uses an exclamation, as if to say, “In summary, to put it more briefly: If we talk about it for a long time, whether You are angry or whether we are afflicted, You are nevertheless our Father. Although in darkness our reason thinks that You are angry and a tyrant, our faith nevertheless concludes that You are our Father, because it grasps the promises.” Every prayer of the godly stands and perseveres in the promises. Every prayer should be concerned about the promises. Summary: “Even in times of darkness and the hiding of Your face, You will act no differently. Your promises are there, and they stand, and You remain our Father.”
We are the clay, and Thou art our potter. . . . “As You promised, if we sinned, You would change us, You would throw us into the lump and make us new again.” There is a similar passage in Jer. 18:1–8, where the prophet pressed the shape of a vessel into the lump and fashioned another vessel. So we are in the hand of God, and even though we are evil, He thrusts us into the lump, into a Babylonian captivity, until the clay has been worked through better so that it becomes more pleasing. Then it will become a new lump. It is as if he were saying: “The fact that You have trampled the clay will not harm us who are broken, if only You remain the Potter and will reshape us.” This is the task of a potter. Summary: “You are our Father, as well as our Artisan and Potter, and You will restore us who are broken.” In this way the clay will be turned into a fine little jug again. Summary: Our breaking is done in the hope that we shall be shaped anew. Thus in all temptations let us firmly believe that we are not mire of the streets but clay of the Potter, God, who will reshape us. We are the clay of the Potter, not the mire of the streets.
We are all the work of Thy hand. These are pure promises, as if to say, “You will not throw us away, because You have given us Your promises.”
Devotional reading is from Luther’s Works, Volume 17, pages 371–72 © 1972 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.