"From the Pulpit" - Reflections on the Weekly Texts, from Pastor Greg at Living Lord Lutheran Church
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the LORD Jesus Christ.
What if you knew the exact day, hour, and minute that you were going to die? What if you knew the day when you would draw your last breath? How would that knowledge affect how you lived out the remaining days/hours of your time on earth?
Actually, there are many accounts of people who, having been given a time frame for their lives based on a terminal illness diagnosis - maybe weeks or months to live, have used that time to do things they might never have thought about doing. Starting a foundation; reconciling with past broken relationships; traveling the world; writing that novel; and more. They didn't want to waste any more of the precious time that lay ahead for them, and so they got busy doing things that were meaningful to them.
In a way, that's what St. Paul is writing about in our middle reading for tomorrow. "The day is near", he says. "Let us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light", he adds. In other words, get busy. Get ready. Use your time not in wasting it on things that don't bear fruit, but instead, "put on the Lord Jesus Christ". Make use of the time you have while you're still here. What would that be like for you? What would you do differently?
Luther often used the German phrase, "sie lebendig!" with an explanation point following. In other words, live! Be alive!, as my high school baseball coach used to yell at us in the infield. Live into the freedom given you as a Christian in your baptism. Live into the light as St. Paul might say.
Advent (this Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent - there are 4.) Advent is a time of anticipation - anticipating the coming of a Savior among us. But it is also a time of preparation. A time of getting ready for a new thing to arrive on the scene. Instead of looking up to the heavens, let's keep our focus on the things of the here and now - the things of this earth - the lives in which we live.
What might that mean for you? Taking stock of your life anew? Picking a project to volunteer for? Engaging more deeply in your church? Getting your finances in order? Other? Let's prepare for the coming of a Savior by getting busy. By not wasting the time we have now. By making good use of what we've been given, to help usher in a new kingdom. By putting on the Lord Christ maybe, as Paul says. Amen? Amen.
1. "Holy Disruptions" Midweek Advent Worship - Starting this Tuesday, and continuing for the remaining three Tuesdays in Advent, we'll be offering a short, informal worship service entitled, "Holy Disruptions - A Contemplative Midweek Advent Worship Series". Bring a brown bag lunch at 12:30, and join us for an informal lunch, and we'll follow up with a 30 minute contemplative worship service featuring readings and hymns, a short reflection, and some prayers as we await Christ's coming among us. Advent, the first season of the church year, reminds us to return to our sense of longing for and expectation of God's coming into our world.
2. Last Saturday's Visioning Session Summary - PG and Pastor Neal Hively will focus this week on providing a summary of our time together last Saturday at our first visioning session. Watch for more details shortly.
"O Come O Come, Emmanuel"
"The King Shall Come"