Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 21:25-36
21:25 "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of
the sea and the waves. 21:26 People will faint from fear and
foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the
heavens will be shaken. 21:27 Then they will see 'the Son of Man
coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. 21:28 Now when
these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near." 21:29 Then he told them
a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 21:30 as soon
as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that
summer is already near. 21:31 So also, when you see these things
taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 21:32
Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all
things have taken place. 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away. 21:34 "Be on guard so that your
hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and
the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly,
21:35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face
of the whole earth. 21:36 Be alert at all times, praying that you
may have the strength to escape all these things that will take
place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
The Gospel of the Lord . . . Praise to you O Christ!
The Definition of Advent is:
To Come or To Arrive
At advent we think of Jesus who is coming, both as our lord
returning victoriously in the sky and as our coming savior in the
baby Jesus. He comes both to judge and to give us grace!
The Definition of Advent is: To Come or To Arrive
Whether we think of Christ as the Bethlehem Child or the Soon
and Coming King robed in majesty and righteousness . . . Advent is
a Season in which we are challenged to get ready for Christ's
The idea of preparing for a coming king can entail a number of
different thoughts and emotions. It can involve physical
preparations as well as the interior cleansing of our selves. It
is with the idea that Christ knows us from the inside out, that
the season of Advent has historically been approached with a mind
toward the Penitential realm of faith. If Jesus is Lord of our
whole selves, then, most likely we have a lot of cleaning up to
do–there are things we must repent from or take on a penitential
attitude toward. Perhaps we cannot necessarily clean up all of who
we have been, because some of those things are done and in some
ways over with.
However, if it's with a human relationship, we might be able to
offer an apology or at least make an attempt at reconciliation
with someone we have hurt or wronged recently or in the distant
past. In the spirit of penitential preparation for Christ's
coming, there could be some practical things to do in order to
improve who we have been being. I'm sure you can think of other
areas of your life where you can (and ought to!) make amends
between yourself and others. Anything you can do to improve on who
you have been being in light of your relationships with others . .
. is going to be a blessing that carries real meaning into the
spirit of the Season of Preparation: Advent!
After all, if, by faith, we truly have a belief that Christ is
coming as a King, and even if our faith is child-like, i.e.,
filled with the warm and fuzzies of the baby lying in the manger
with all those pleasant animals standing around gloating over the
baby Jesus and the cherub-like angels smiling with rosy cheeks and
aluminum halos dangling overhead, yes even if Christmas has just
been a pleasant holiday where we get off work or out of school a
few days, THEN!, we are still called to make Ourselves Ready for
this child King's appearance!
Another point of view on the coming of Christ and our
subsequent need to prepare ourselves, can include that Jesus is
coming on the clouds of glory, he is coming as Victorious Lord of
All. He is coming in strength and in power to judge the deeds of
men, women and nations. He is coming to see what we have done with
the talents, resources and knowledge entrusted to us.
How does this make you feel? For most of us--we might be
feeling a bit light headed at this thought. We have to confess we
have been pretty poor stewards of the resources entrusted in our
care, and not just the physical ones. Honestly, have you or have I
utilized even a fraction of the learning we possess to benefit
some other person-–to uplift someone else so that they might live
a better life? Or improve their health or wage or welfare?
Most of us cannot honestly say we have been terribly mindful of
what's at stake for future generations in light of our present
actions and attitudes. Honestly, everyone who is eligible to vote,
or if you can write a letter or if you have a voice to speak with
. . . we are going to be accountable to the King and Judge–Jesus
for what we did or did not do to improve life as we know it now.
We need to constantly remind ourselves that our present comforts
and even political allowances are creating a world and a culture
that is far from anything that Jesus would have stood for.
Therefore, if Christ is coming in the clouds as a judge – woe
On the other hand, there is an entire other side to the great
Day of the Lord, which is most often presented as a day of
judgement . . . like I have been presenting it so far (as give
above). As fearful as the whole subject has become in the church
(mostly due to misinterpretation of the Bible and extra additives
cleverly manufactured by exploitative preachers such as Hal
Lindsey who has made millions from his fictional "Left Behind"
series) the original Gospel writers had a mind to encourage the
faithful followers of Jesus.
The Day of the Coming of the Lord is a day for Christians to
hold there heads high. To look forward with confidence to the
return of Jesus. He comes not to judge his children who live and
move and find their very happiness in him, but he comes to call us
by name. To praise us for our faith in spite of danger and
persecution--as the early Christians experienced. We are also
called to recognize that Christ comes to us as our Savior. In Him,
God has already acted mercifully on our behalf. In fact for every
baptized and professing Christian, we understand that Jesus is
present with us today, tomorrow and forever and He has promised
never to leave us nor forsake us.
So, God's Love and Grace are already present among us, even as
Christ has said, Fear Not, for I am with you even unto the end of
the age. So as we continue on the journey of Advent, I would
encourage you to listen for the voice of the Spirit, and prepare
yourself for Jesus' coming by acting on a few things as I have
All of us have relationships where we could make some repairs
or corrections that should have been taken care of a long time ago
back. In the end, you will not regret making amends with old
relationships, you'll feel better about yourself. Confronting some
things that should have been confronted long ago will go a long
way toward making you a better person and the world a better
place. It's a way to get yourself ready for Jesus as well as
everyone else around you. Get ready to worship the baby and the
King! Pray and ask God to help you get us all ready. Go out there
and be a blessing!!
Read more writings of Pastor Jon