Advent Devotionals - November 28th

“Unto thee, O Lord, l lift up my soul; O my God, in thee have I trusted, let me not be confounded: neither let mine enemies triumph over me; for all they that look for thee shall not be ashamed. Show me thy ways, O Lord: and teach me thy paths.”

“Unto thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”  As the season of Advent begins, these words, from Psalm 25, provide a fitting start.    That is our task for this season.  Honestly, that is our task for life:  to lift up our souls to the Lord.

There are several points in our Sunday service where we lift things up.  We lift up “the fruit of our life and labor” in the offertory.  We lift up our hearts in the Great Thanksgiving.  We lift up the bread and the wine in the Eucharist.  To lift things up is to acknowledge that “all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.”
To lift up our souls, then, is to surrender them before the Lord as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).  Everything we are and all that we have is a gift from our good and gracious God.  We are, then, as faithful stewards, to use our lives in the perfect freedom of His service.  To lift up our souls to the Lord is to let Him direct our ways.

This requires trust.  To give ourselves away to Him is to trust that it is in losing our lives that we will truly find them, that serving Him with our whole being is the path of true freedom and joy.
The Introit, then, calls us to surrender and trust. But it also issues a challenge.

To what do you lift up, or surrender, your life?  What directs and guides your life?  Is it the search for comfort?  The desire for control?  The longing for belonging and being accepted?  The quest for power?
To perhaps ask that in a different way, what is the ultimate love of your life?  To what do you lift up your soul?

And what do you really trust?  Is it earthly powers?  Or perhaps knowledge or financial security.  Or maybe it is yourself.  We can often expose what we truly trust by simply asking ourselves what we are most afraid of losing.  In what, or whom, do we trust?

Advent reminds us that we must be ready for the return of our Lord, and when He comes again in power and great glory to judge the heavens and the earth, it will be shown to what we have lifted up our souls and where we have placed our trust.  This season calls us to be ready for Jesus as we surrender to, and trust in, Him.

Fr. Karl Dietze

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