Life Notes—December 30, 2010
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Advent is over and the baby has been born. So what now? Perhaps we begin with a reassessment of what Advent is really about. Sure, it is a time of preparation, a time to prepare our hearts and minds to recognize, celebrate and honor the birth of Emmanuel—God with us. We prepare to receive, again, the birth of Christ into our world and acknowledge the impact of that simple birth on our lives still today. But if that is all Advent is about, then Advent ends with the birth, right?
No, there is another angle to Advent. It involves preparation for an event; but for an event that has yet to happen: the return of Christ to earth. Years ago I came to believe the Second Coming occurred when an individual accepted Christ’s Lordship over their life. It was a personal event between a person and Christ. While I still believe that to be true, that is not exactly the biblical version of the Second Coming.
If Jesus Christ came to our church this Sunday, what would we do? If he asked to join you for dinner, how would you prepare? Somehow, I don’t think picking up the clutter, vacuuming the carpets and dusting the pictures would suffice. I suspect Jesus would be more interested in how focused we are on feeding his sheep. Are we taking care of our physical and spiritual health in order to be useful instruments for his purposes? Are we being good stewards over that which has been entrusted to us? Are we hoarding our abundance for a rainy day, or sharing with those who have needs this day?
Honestly, I look at what I need to do to prepare to meet Christ and I see an enormous mountain. But all mountains are scaled one step at a time. When Jesus walked the earth he met people where and how they were, and focused their hearts and minds on whose they were and what they were to become. We are not called to reach the summit today; rather, to progress on the journey. Like a newborn, we can take baby steps. I don’t know what that means for you. Committing to regular prayer time? Maybe joining the Jubilee Café or LINK crews or mending a relationship. Maybe it’s joining a Covenant group or Sunday School class. Recycling? Giving blood? There are many starting points. The child has been born and the Savior is coming—we just do not know when. But we all know a few baby steps we can take to begin preparing. Once we take those steps, others will appear. And just when we thought Advent was over…a new life begins.
This Sunday, Tom’s downtown sermon title is “The Right Time,” based on the scripture Ecclesiastes 3:1-16. Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall; traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00. Mitch will preach at the west campus, where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. His sermon is “Get Your Groove On,” based on Psalm 30.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Come take a few baby steps with us.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator