A New Season, A New Hope, We are awake, preparing and walking in the light of the Lord. This week we start a new Advent Season. We are reminded that we’ve got work to do for we are a people, a church that seeks to be actively and awaiting the Lord’s return. This reminds us of our very life and direction as a church. In all seasons and at all times we are a people on a journey waiting for the Lord’s return.
This active watching and waiting requires that we be awake and actively preparing for our Lord coming. The vision of the Prophet Isaiah reminds us that we are to be active, engaging and journeying to invite all person to know and encounter the God of Israel.
“the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”
This journey is the call that impels us to be an Evangelical Church. That is a community that invites, journeys and teaches the greatness and the love of Christ. It is God’s desire that all people come to the knowledge and truth of God’s great love and desire for humanity to be united with Him. The Father’s house is for all people to know and experience God’s welcome embrace. The church actively5 engaged in the work of evangelization is awakened, prepared faithful in motion, moving toward the fullness of God’s kingdom culminating in Christ.
The church must be dynamically engaging, serving and encountering all who walk in darkness without the light of the Lord to guide them. The proclamation of the Gospel connects with the lives of those on the peripheries and shares the truth and the power that comes from knowing Christ. This new season of Matthew is our source for proclamation of the Good News. From the unprepared of Noah’s time those working either in the fields or grinding meal unaware of their need to be prepared. They are caught off guard going about their daily lives. More is required than simply the daily grind.
What does this active preparedness look like? “put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Putting on Christ is to love as He loved, to care as He cared and speak as He spoke of the transforming power of God’s prevailing power at work forming persons seeking the conversion of our world.. We live as agents and ambassadors of God peace working to transform unjust systems that alienate and destroy to converting ignoble impulses and reshaping and building a community that lifts up the best and noble in all.
To put on Christ is to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. I look to the words of Paul’s letter to the Galatians chapter 5:22
“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.”
We are invited in a special way to encounter and embrace more deeply the Life in the Spirit, to be a believer and person of faith, acting in love, living profoundly the joy of the Spirit and pursuing paths to peace are the characteristic of one who has put on Christ. In our journeying with others we are called to patience expressed in a kind disposition to those around us and with whom we share in life’s daily journey. We encounter the poor, the sick and suffering, those on the peripheries giving generously of ourselves, spending our lives for those most in need. Faithful to Christ and gently facing even the obstacles along the way not lashing our but controlled self deference as Christ did in humbly entering our human condition.
During Advent we journey open to God forming and renewing us for the work of the Gospel and proclaiming a message that enlightens and brings the knowledge of the Good News. Let’s us “walk in the Light, the beautiful light come where the dew drops of mercy shine bright, shine all around us by day and by night.”