Preparing for Worship: Advent Living (Advent III)

Preparing for Worship: Advent Living (Advent III)

John Haralson   •   December 15, 2017

Advent III, Jenny and Ryan James

In a very deep sense, the entire Christian life in this world is lived in Advent, between the first and second comings of the Lord, in the midst of the tension between things the way they are and things the way they ought to be.
Fleming Rutledge, The Bible and the New York Times

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Jesus, Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)

Dear Friends,

I have been on one blind date in my life.

It was, arguably, the most awkward 3 hours I’ve ever spent. The two of us didn’t have anything in common, other than the people who set us up. When we ran out of things to say about our mutual friends, we experienced a lot of silence. The end of the evening couldn’t come quick enough for either of us.

During Advent each year, we intentionally prepare ourselves to meet the Lord upon his return. For Jesus’ disciples, meeting him at his return is not like going on a blind date with a complete stranger. When Jesus speaks about his return, he talks about coming to be with his people who know him. His sheep know his voice, and we look forward to his return.

Though startling, and in many ways beyond our comprehension, the return of Christ will be similar to being face-to-face with a dear friend from whom we have had very intimate, though somewhat limited, communication with for a long time. Though our relationship with him will grow deeply on that day, we will not be starting from scratch. We will know him, and he will know us.

So, how are we to prepare to meet the Lord when he returns? The simple answer is that we prepare to meet him on that day by meeting with him regularly now. We meet him each week as we worship together on Sunday―encountering him in prayer, his word, the Lord’s Supper, and in fellowship with one another. And, we meet with him each day in our own times of prayer and Bible reading and meditation, and in our fellowship with one another.

This habitual experience of meeting with God in our daily lives now, prepares us to joyfully meet him on that great day. As we encounter his presence in our lives today, he gradually shapes us into people who joyfully look forward to the time when we will finally be with him face-to-face.

This week: Isaiah 61:1-3, I Thessalonians 5:16-24, Advent Living.

Liturgy is here.

I hope to worship with you.

John

PS For those new to the Season of Advent and the church calendar, here is a great 4-minute video by Bishop Stephen Scarlett.

PPS Don’t forget the Grace Kids Christmas Pageant this Sunday at 10:30am. Come one, come all