We all look with a wary yet hopeful eye toward the future. We hear about the phased plan for reopening our state, for starting the great engine of our nation’s economy again. Every scheduled press conference gives us the promise of some sort of resolution, a way forward. Now these conferences do not seem to usually play out that way. They are often filled with extremely vague and elusive statements and the way forward, the way out of this crisis, the way back to some sort of normalcy is not very clear. We all want it. We all would be doing a lot better if there was a real plan with real dates with predictable results, but we just cannot seem to get there.
The people of God were not a people who stood head and shoulders above everyone else. Their title as His chosen ones did not mean they had the best of everything, that they were safe and secure and lived a fat and happy life free from concern, worry and fear. Rather, their history was marked by slavery, oppression, and nomadic wandering with no place to call their home. They were well acquainted with the horrors of war, disease and struggle.
It is a most pleasurable and painful need of His image: To speak, to sing, to form, to make. Our hands were sculpted to press a moldless form into beauty. Our eyes were crafted to dream color into a dark grey vision. Our lips were shaped to taste the ever-sweeter sensations that we could conceive. We were fearfully and wonderfully designed to create like the Creator.
It’s nothing new, we all have felt the war between what we know is true from the words of God and what the culture says is good and right. Most of the time though it doesn’t affect us directly, usually it is just those other people out there doing something we totally disapprove of. But every once in a while, this battle starts stirring in our own home, among the people we love, even right in the eyes of the little people we’ve known from their first breath.
There’s a phrase that has appeared in Christmas lights upon homes across America, maybe even the world, during the Time of Christmas atleast since I was a child. “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” When I was younger, I always thought it was cool to see these words glittering in the many windows we passed by during the Christmas light tour my family would venture out on every year.
Last Sunday we talked about the arrival of John the Baptist. This is the great forerunner of Jesus, the famous voice crying out in the wilderness. He shows up baptizing the people of God as they repent of their sins and renew their longing for the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah. And as we find out in our text today, John is the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning Elijah the prophet.
During the season of Advent, he always makes his appearance. We wait with bated breath as the readings of the church year turn our focus from the promised end of all things and the coming of the new heavens and new earth to the voice of John the Baptist. His voice, though, is not sweet and calming. It does not fit with the joyful theme of this time of year. There is no peace on earth and goodwill toward men. No, John is like a bull in a China shop. He shakes things up with an urgent call for repentance. “Repent,” he says, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
Advent is the season of arrival; the anticipation of the coming of God. We count down on the Advent Wreath each Sunday as we light another candle and move closer to Christmas, to the great arrival of God all those years ago in the little town of Bethlehem. We celebrate the fact that our God is not a God who stays far off, is only a dream or an empty promise. No, our God is a God who comes. He advents with His people. He arrives and His arrival changes things.
I often ask myself, “What am I doing here?” It seems like no one cares, and that no […]
I have to just accept the fact, God loves me, whether I like it or not. Once in a while a pastor receives a wonderful phone call from someone who heard the Gospel. Not that he heard it for the first time, but for whatever reason the ridiculous love of God in Jesus Christ finally opened his eyes.