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Advent Meditation: Sunday, December 2

By Scott Bader-Saye

Psalm 146, 147, 111–113  •  Isaiah 1:1–19  •  Matthew 25:1–13

During our years living in northeastern Pennsylvania, Advent coincided with short days, long nights, and the first flush of winter. In Austin, Advent coincides with sunny days, outdoor events, and moderate temperatures that finally mark the end of lingering heat.

The variation in how we experience the seasons at this time of year matches the various ways we might observe Advent. It can be a season of penitence, a season of aspiration, a season of joy, a season of introspection, a season of doubt. Through it all, Advent is a time of preparation.

In the scripture reading from Matthew, the bridesmaids are asked to attend to their oil since they do not know when the bridegroom will arrive. Some do, and some don’t. Some find themselves prepared at his coming and some find themselves left outside of the banquet. We might be inclined to think that the story is about oil and, metaphorically, about whether we have planned well enough to be received into the heavenly feast. But at the end of the story, the bridegroom does not say to the foolish bridesmaids, “You missed your chance because you had to go buy oil,” but rather, “I do not know you.”

Advent calls us to pay attention – not so that we can “get it right” and earn a reward, but so that we are prepared to be known. It is as easy and as hard as that.

Loving God, who came to us bearing an invitation to be known, make us ready to respond to that invitation. Create in us a space that is ready to receive you, so that by our readiness, we may be known by you. Amen.

Dr. Scott Bader-Saye
Academic Dean and Helen and Everett H. Jones Professor of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology
Seminary of the Southwest

Listen to Scott read his meditation and prayer:


Dr. Scott Bader-Saye joined the seminary faculty as the Helen and Everett H. Jones Chair in Christian Ethics and Moral Theology in 2009 and has served as academic dean since 2013.

His current research centers on theological readings of gender and transgender. Other research interests include economy, sexuality, political theology, virtue ethics, and interfaith dialogue. He teaches the core Theological Ethics courses for all degree programs. He is author of Formed by Love (2017), Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (2007), and Church and Israel After Christendom (1999/2005). He has contributed to The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics (2006) and The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels (2006) and has published widely in theological journals and magazines.

Professor Bader-Saye helped found and lead Peacemeal, a missional Episcopal community in Scranton, PA, served on the Episcopal Church Executive Council Economic Justice Loan Committee, currently serves on the Gathering of Leaders Steering Committee, and is active as a teacher and parishioner at St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church, a mission in northwest Austin.

The Advent Meditations and Prayers are a gift to our seminary community and are made possible through gifts to our Annual Fund. Seminary of the Southwest appreciates the support of its friends, alumni, and the communities around the world that its graduates serve for the glory of God. This support ensures that Southwest, as an institution made of individuals dedicated to service to God and their fellow members of the body of Christ, can continue doing its part to build the body of Christ.


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