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Try to Not Let “Them” Steal Our Joy!

Altar with communionDevotional Thought of the Day:
1  As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. 2  Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne. 3  Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 (TEV)

83         Faced by all those men without faith, without hope; by minds desperately near the borders of anguish, seeking for a meaning in their life, you found your purpose: Him! This discovery will permanently inject a new happiness into your existence, it will transform you, and present you with an immense daily hoard of beautiful things of which you were unaware, and which show you the joyful expanse of that broad path that leads you to God.

There are times where the actions of people affect us.  Times where evil or unjust actions cause us to struggle, to even despair and sink into depression.  Some of us are more susceptible to this than others, as we do not understand how in the world they justify their actions.

This kind of trauma can paralyze us, make us ask unanswerable questions, we can even begin to doubt God, for how can he allow this level of brokenness, this sin to dominate and evil to flourish.  As we ask these questions, out hearts and souls receive hit after hit, even as we try to determine if this is the time to fight, or flee.

I hate to say it is “natural” to enter such struggles but after 50 years, I find that I don’t have the strength to avoid such, nor the power to overcome the tendency to be so affected.  Simply put, you can’t care for people, you can’t try to love them without opening yourself up to such burdens, to such struggles.

So how do you cope?

St. Josemaria and St. Paul agree.  The answer is to look to Jesus, to find our purpose is Him.  They agree that our relationship with Jesus is so precious that we can look to Him and discover the greatest joy. This is the same joy that Jesus saw as he walked to, and was nailed to the cross.

Looking to Him, finding our life our breath and very being located in Him, allows us to see that our trust in Him is true. He will sustain us from the beginning to the end, it will reveal to us the incredible vastness of the love of God, and we will experience it more as we see ourselves as part of His story.

That’s what I need to know, that is why we need to go to the cross when we are feeling this way.  Our hearts and souls and minds need to understand what happened when God baptized us when God drew us to Jesus and united us to His death and resurrection,  When God declared us righteous, cleansing us of sin, and declared we are His children.  We need to allow His presence to dominate our awareness, to let, for then His peace settles over us.  Assured He is our fortress, we can then begin to respond in love, and in prayer for those who actions or words drew us deep into despair.

This is what we need, to focus in on Jesus, and be forewarned, it isn’t easy.  Satan will buffet us all the way.  This is where the communion of saints is so precious, for their testimonies in scripture and in the millennia since demonstrates God’s faithfulness.  This is where the sacraments and the word of God come into play, ministering to our hearts, souls, and minds, bringing the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Here is our hope and joy are restored, renewed, here in this sanctuary we call the presence of God, for know this my friends, “the Lord is with you!”

AMEN!

 

Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 571-576). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The Repentant Heart is Not Supposed to Be Sad?

Devotional Thought of the Day:

“Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not lament, do not weep!”—for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 10 He continued: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD is your strength!” 11 And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Silence! Today is holy, do not be saddened.” 12 Then all the people began to eat and drink, to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy, for they understood the words that had been explained to them.   Nehemiah 8:9–12  New American Bible. .

10      Think about what the Holy Spirit says, and let yourself be filled with awe and gratitude: Elegit nos ante mundi constitutionem—he chose us before the foundation of the world, ut essemus sancti in conspectu eius!—that we might be holy in his presence. To be holy isn’t easy, but it isn’t difficult either. To be holy is to be a good Christian, to resemble Christ. The more closely a person resembles Christ, the more Christian he is, the more he belongs to Christ, the holier he is. And what means do we have? The same means the early faithful had, when they saw Jesus directly or caught a glimpse of him in the accounts the Apostles and Evangelists gave of him.

As my church has spent Lent considering what repentance is, one thing becomes clearer and clearer.  Lent, while a solemn season, while a penitential season, is one filled with joy because it is filled with hope.

As Ezra read the Torah to the people of God, as the Spirit called to mind their sin, there was a grieving that took place, as people considered generation after generation of sin, as well as their own.  And yes, a repentant sin does need an examination of conscience, as we approach our confession.  But even that confession is done with expectation, clinging to the promise of God’s faithfulness.

We have to remember that a repentant life is a transformed life, a life where God is working on us, recreating us, cleansing us.  This work of God, this masterpiece He is creating, is what repentance granted us is really about.

It is getting used to living in the light, as opposed to floundering in the darkness!  It is walking around, free in Christ, free to be with Christ, rather than being chained to sin, anxiety, fear, and resentment.

It is the simplicity that St. Josemaria talks of, of simply living life, confident and aware of the presence of God, revealed in His word, communicated in the sacraments.  It is when we catch that glimpse and hold onto it, letting everything else fall aside.  It is isn’t easy, as our old nature will fight to stay alive, yet it is as easy as realizing we are Jesus’ friends, the Father’s children, His people.  And that realization, especially when we know it isn’t right because we don’t we deserve it, but rather is right because God granted us this repentant life.

Repentance is not an act, any more than conversion is, and more than faith is a declaration of our trust.  It is a state of being, it is being “the Repentant”, a joyous walk with a God that loves us, and is willing to forgive, showing mercy, and faithful, unending love!

Cry out, “Lord have mercy!” but do it in faith, and in expectation, for you dwell in His presence!  AMEN!

 

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 270-276). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Advent Message #1 Psalm 51 Have mercy on me!

Have Mercy On Me
Help me to know your unfailing love!

Psalm 51:1-6

† IHS †

David’s Scenario

The pastor descends, and heads straight toward a member of the church.  The look on his face is serious, there is no humor in his eyes.

He walks up to one of the most respected leaders of the church, the man respected for his faith.  He zeroes in on him, heads straight at him, and as he stops, he reveals to the man that he knows about that specific sin.  The sin that was serious enough for the people to take up stones and kill him.  The sin which didn’t just break a commandment, but shattered several of them.

He calls him out on it, in front of everyone

What happened to David, happens all over again.

Except that it happens to Tom. Or Al, or Doug, or Wanda..

I want each of you to think how David felt in the first reading, as Nathan revealed to the world David’s sin.  The sin he thought no one knew.  The sin that ate him, that continued to eat at him.

What if tonight, instead of David’s sin, it was yours that was revealed.

What terror would you feel, what pain?

Even though we are looking at the Psalm during this advent, we can’t understand the strength of David’s plea for mercy, we can’t understand how desperate His cry to God, without hearing the depth of despair, as David’s sin was found revealed not just before God, but before all.

How Can this Be?
It is in the aftermath of this scene, that David writes these words,

Have mercy on me, o God, because of your unfailing love!
Have mercy on me, I am a sinner, I am a wretch.

He cannot deny it.  He cannot simply say, no, I’m good with God.  Nope, don’t worry pastor, that Confession thing, hearing you tell me I am forgiven, it’s not a big deal.  It’s the other people that you have to worry about.

You know, those that rip their neighbor’s off, those who are sexually immoral, those who lie and cheat and gossip.  That’s for them, not for me.

David’s sin is laid out.  Undeniable, horrid, sickening.

It would still make every headline today.

You are the man.
You are the woman.
You’ve sinned.

And revealing that sin, in a way you can’t deny, in a way you have to confess, is part of the healing.  It is why Luther and the early reformers didn’t get rid of confession, either public of private.

Because we know in our plea for mercy, that it will be answered.

Just as David’s was, just as Moses’ was, just as Peter’s was.

Just as Tom and Al and my plea’s for mercy will be answered.

Hear David’s words again,

Have mercy on me, o God, because of your unfailing love!

That is what Advent is about, learning to depend on God’s unfailing love.  Learning to cry out what has been called the Jesus Prayer, Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

Crying it out, knowing the heart of God, knowing the heart revealed at the manger and the cross, as God comes into the word to show us that mercy,

Crying out, not based on anything but the unfailing love of God.  For that is our only refuge when we come face to face with our sin. When we realize how wrong it is, and that we can’t fix it.

To do as David would continue to pray,

Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.

2  Wash me clean from my guilt.

Purify me from my sin.

3  For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.

4  Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.

5  For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

6  But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.

7  Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:1-7 (NLT)

A prayer of despair, a prayer of recognizing what we had done, a prayer of faith, knowing the heart of God.

The heart of God that answered David, and answers you and I

“Yes, you have sinned, but I have forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin..”

Amen!

 

What Does Getting an IV ( Or going to a Dentist) and the Lord’s Supper Have in Common

Featured imageDevotional and Discussion Quote of the Day:

23  For I received from the Lord the teaching that I passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took a piece of bread, 24  gave thanks to God, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me.” 25  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup and said, “This cup is God’s new covenant, sealed with my blood. Whenever you drink it, do so in memory of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 (TEV)

10  “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 (NLT)

477    Why do you neglect those corners in your heart? As long as you don’t give yourself completely, you can’t expect to win others. What a poor instrument you are!  (1)

On Thursday, I had some medical tests done.  As I was laying there on the hard gurney, the nurse told me to stay still, as she was going to ram a large (it looked six inches long and an inch wide)  needle into one of my veins.  “Hold still,” she says.

Yeah. Be still.  Uh huh,

Think about this, you are laid back in the comfortable dentist chair, and the dentist smiles and says, this will hurt just a little, as he takes tools that barely fit in the room, and comes at you with sinister glee glowing from behind his mask.

“Just be still,” he cautions.  The only problem, in both those our nerves, betray us. We lie there, shaking, our bodies tense and on edge, not sure how painful this will be.  Our minds are trying to find something to distract us, something else upon which to focus.  Is it over yet?

So what do these two phobias of mine have to do with the Lord’s Supper?

The stillness we need to have is part of it.

But so is the trust that what is going to happen to us is going to be for our betterment.

I think many of us approach communion to casually.  Do we realize that this is God, Jesus’ precious Body give for us, His blood shed for our sins, that we are going to take?  Are we still enough to realize that we aren’t just symbolically in the presence of God, we really are?

Do we realize that God’s presence will cleanse, restore, and bring healing to our broken lives, our hurting souls?

Paul tells the church to examine themselves, to recognize His presence, that to fail to do so has resulted in some spiritually falling asleep, and in some cases, death.

We need to be still; We need to take the time to know He Is God, our God, the God, who loves and cares for us.  It’s not for His ease, or because He is impatient, it is for our best, for our healing, for our comfort.

Imagine if you spent the time in a dentist’s chair paging through His resume, interviewing other patients, trying to critique his prior operations, and pontificating and debating about why He is better than the dentist three doors down.   Imagine,as the arm is cleaned, and the needle approaches that vein, you spend time trying to determine whether it would be better to place it somewhere else, or arguing about the history of plastic versus metal needles, and occasionally wondering about the use of leeches?

Relax, breath deep, know the presence of God.  Drop to your knees in awe (if you can get back up!)  and savor the moment, the Body and Blood, given and shed for you……

He is God!

He is with you!

This is what you’ve been told to seek, this moment, this precious time…. breathe slowly, find that point where you revere and adore Him, and where that reverence is balance with a flood of joy.  As you are still and know that He is God as His love and mercy wash away all that is not this moment, God and His family…

this moment we need!

Be still…. for just a moment longer…

Smile, and know you life is in His hands…..

AMEN

Be still… be still and know He is God.

Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 1168-1170). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Without Advent, Christmas is Just History….

Devotional Thought of the Day:Featured image

18  Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the LORD. 19  Tell them the LORD looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. He looked down to earth from heaven 20  to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die. 21  And so the LORD’s fame will be celebrated in Zion, his praises in Jerusalem, 22  when multitudes gather together and kingdoms come to worship the LORD. Psalm 102:18-22 (NLT)

419      It seems an excellent idea to me that you should tell the Lord often about your great and ardent desire to be a saint, even though you see yourself filled with wretchedness… Tell him, precisely because of this! (1)

This evening, we take up our advent journey, a journey I hope to be one of intense prayer. We are going to look at different prayers in the Bible, where people cried out for the presence of God,   Prayers that plead, Come Lord Jesus!

As I was thinking through the service this morning, it became apparent that we need this time of Advent.  THe title above declares why.  Without Advent, Christmas is a celebration of a historical event.  An incredible one for sure, as Eternal God become mortal man, and dwelt among us.  As the angels and shepherds sing God’s praises, as the glory of God was experienced in a way that even Abraham and Moses, David and Elijah never experienced.

Immanuel!  God with us!

But what needs to be said is that life prior to the incarnation was in desperate need fo that incarnation.   THat is what Advent services, the readings, the music, the devotions, should cause us to understand.  To see the Incarnation, Christ living amongst us, not just as a historical exercise, but as an answer.

An answer to a prayer uttered in despair.  In despair because of evil oppression, in despair because of the darkness of our own sin, in despair because without the presence of God, life is hopeless.  An answer to those groaning souls imprisoned by guilt and shame, battered, downcast, broken.

it is the prayer that St. Josemaria encourages us to utter, even in the midst of knowing our own failure.  A prayer that acknowledges our desire to live life worthy of Christ’s love, but unable to.  It is the prayer cry of despair, depression, submission, and one that is made with the inkling of hope.  The hope as we realize what is needed, is promised.  The hope that expects the answer deep in our hearts, even while our minds struggle with the possibility of it.

Knowing this despair is answered is the nature of Christmas -advent simply identifies what life is, without God. It brings Christmas’s meaning beyond history into the present, and affects us here… and now.  It provides hope for us who are broken.

For Advent shows a pattern to God’s love.  It is why it was recorded for us.  To know that God looks down.  He sees our lives, lived in bondage, He hears our cries, and answers, freeing us, comforting us, cleansing and healing us. Without realizing the desperate need for God’s presence, Christmas just becomes a time of celebrating what happened.  With the realizations of Advent, it becomes much more… Christmas becomes a celebration of our hope, because our Lord God is with us.

Knowing this, may our lives be lived in the praises of His people, as we wait again for His coming.

AMEN



Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1616-1618). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

A Celtic Advent: The Trinity’s Look Towards Christ’s Birth

The Father’s Thoughts:

     Looking forward to the Birth of Christ

† Jesus, Son, Savior †

18  …may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT)

 Mary did you know? God did!

If it hasn’t happened yet, soon your mailboxes will be filled with cute Christmas cards, some of them actually daring to be “religious”, to have picture Mary and Joseph looking down, adoring the “6lb, 7oz. Baby Lord Jesus” asleep quietly, without dirty diapers in a manger so spotless, cleansed by the glorious light of the star, that you wouldn’t hesitate to make Christmas cookies there.

We’ll sing the carols, eventually, as they help us contemplate what it means to look into a manger and see there Jesus, our savior.  We’ll even hear songs like Joseph’s song, as he tries to comprehend what it means to raise Christ, or “Mary, did you know”, as we celebrate Christmas.  As we consider if Mary really understood the pain that Simeon prophesied she would bear – as she watch Jesus be crucified, or the joy she would know as He ministered, and healed and rose from the dead.

This advent, I want to prepare us for those joys by seeing what the Trinity expected, as Jesus was sent to be born. Tonight, we will look at what the Father thought, as the plan made before the foundation of the world became reality, as His only begotten was born into this world, amidst the sin and brokenness…

What did He see, what did He plan, what was He expecting, as He sent Jesus into our world?

A difference, a Mission, and a wedding banquet

He’s different… (so you will be!)

The first thing we need to consider is who is sent!  It is not a soldier on an impossible mission, it’s someone who has been hand-picked.

Picture God the Father, looking down into the manger and saying the words He wrote through Isaiah,

“Take a good look at my servant. I’m backing him to the hilt. He’s the one I chose, and I couldn’t be more pleased with him. I’ve bathed him with my Spirit, my life. He’ll set everything right among the nations. 2  He won’t call attention to what he does with loud speeches or gaudy parades. 3  He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant, but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right. 4  He won’t tire out and quit. He won’t be stopped until he’s finished his work—to set things right on earth. Far-flung ocean islands wait expectantly for his teaching.” 5

This babe, this man, this Savior, is our God, who will not disregard anyone us, He will set things right, not just in one place, one country, but in the world.  He won’t tire or quit on us, He won’t give up, even when we do.

As the Father prepares for these moments of Jesus’ Incarnation, His life among us, He knows the relationship He has with His Son, that is the kind of relationship He wants with each of us, His people.

But Christ’s being sent, is what that will cost!

Here’s what will happen!

You see, even as Christ is the image of the Father, in sending us Jesus, the Father sends us the very image we are being transformed into, the very life we are being reformed to live.  The image that we can see, as we look at our own children in love, or in those moments where we struggle with the injustice and unrighteousness of the world.  The times where we operate “outside ourselves” in the way we love and sacrifice, just because we need it.

Hear again what the Father says to Jesus, and picture Him saying it over Jesus, laying in the manger.

6  “I am GOD. I have called you to live right and well. I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe. I have set you among my people to bind them to me, and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations, 7  To make a start at bringing people into the open, into light: opening blind eyes, releasing prisoners from dungeons, emptying the dark prisons.

This manger – these lights, the blue paraments, that is what it is all about, this time of Christmas.

It’s about the Father sending Jesus with the deliberate intent of dealing with our brokenness, about freeing us from the darkness of sin and self-centeredness, about releasing us from that which constrains and binds us, Satan’s work deceiving us and getting us to buy into our rights.

Freeing us to live in a relationship with the Father, as His children, as those who He rejoices in, whom He takes responsibility for, the people that He keeps safe.

You’ve been invited!

As we look at advent, the Father’s intent becomes clear as we are invited to His son’s wedding feast in the gospel.  For Christ has come, and as we look at His coming again, no message sends that more clearly than the feast we’ve been invited to, to celebrate His love, to celebrate the fulfilment of His mission.

To celebrate His taking our burdens and bringing us is, everyone the Spirit has laid eyes on, the good, and those of us who aren’t so good.  To look forward to the feast, and to realize we continue in the very ministry of Christ, inviting all to be fed, to know His love.

For in Jesus, all has been set right, as we live in Him this work of His is being finished.

For we have been called to dwell in His peace.

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross (Photo credit: freefotouk)

You Must Be Ready…but How?

You MUST Be Ready…but How?Photo: God is ready to meet you... Are you ready to meet Him?  # advent #concordia.org

Matthew 24:36-44

 

Jesus, Son, Savior

As our expectations build toward celebrating Christmas, may the grace and mercy of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ

reveal to us His presence in which we already dwell!


It is perhaps one of the small benefits I have as a pastor during this time of year; as people are invite each other to parties;

There is that question that lurks in the back of your mind, as you wonder how fancy the party will be?

Prior to becoming a pastor, it was hard for me to figure out how to get ready.  If I wore comfortable jeans, everyone would be in suits and dresses.  If I wore a suit, or even a tuxedo (does anyone do that anymore?), you know everyone would be wearing polo shirts and casual pants with sandals.

You stand there, looking in your closet, knowing you have to get ready! But…how?

My advantage now as a pastor is that I just throw on a shirt and collar – bring along a jacket… and I am all set!  Well – I may have to remember to answer every time I hear the word, “Father,” like at my cousin’s party back when I was in Boston.  Besides that… I do okay.

It is that feeling of not knowing what to expect, how to get ready for that which we will encounter, that is so challenging.  Where are we going?  Will it be fancy or simple? Formal or homey?

If we struggle with that, on this first day of Advent – the day of Hope and Expectation, what do we think of, as we hear Jesus’s words,

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

How do we get ready to come into the presence of the King of Kings and Lord or Lord’s? 

The Norms of Life?

          Parties and work and life..                

One thing is certain from this passage… we do not have a clue when it will be, when everything that God has promised is fully complete.

It could have been a day like Thursday, when people were enjoying all the family and friends and feasting that goes along with Thanksgiving.  Or days like Friday, when people who work in retail establishments are overwhelmed by those who want more for which to be thankful.

Celebrations, work, life, and into the midst of it all, will come Christ!  In another passage Jesus will ask,

8  …when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Luke 18:8 (NLT)

It’s a hard question, for how many will follow idols, or see their life fulfilled in what they acquire and what they do or who they are with, rather than in the relationship we’ve been given with God?  How many of us would consider that which defines us to be our relationship with God?  And if we do, does the way we live our lives reveal that definition?

I am not saying we should not throw parties, that people should not get married, or that they should not work. It is not what we do that reveals our priorities; rather it is how we do it. Is Christ involved, is the idea of His coming a consideration in how we do things.  Paul talks about it this way,

31 .. whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)

There is our answer, to being prepared, to know what to expect for His coming, His advent, Coming and Advent that great greek word “Parousia”.  It simply means – I am around. I will be here.

That is what we need to expect – the presence of God in our lives.

Given all the distractions during this holiday season, given all the extra work, and the events with friends, how do we stay “ready?”

So how do we stay “ready”??      

There was a time, and there are still people that would say we simply keep someone here at church praying, 24 hours day, 7 days a week.  That they have a cell phone ready to speed dial all of us, just in case if the clouds break open and Jesus descends.  One church did that back in 1981, on December 31st, there was a large crowd at a church in Orange County, whose pastor promised that Jesus would return that year. On the last day of the year – fully expecting His return, they sat there…singing songs, waiting.

Since Noah prepared and was expecting the flood without ever having experienced a rainstorm, maybe we can take a lesson from him. The letter to Hebrew Christians describes him this way,

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith. Hebrews 11:7 (NLT) 7

He was ready, because he trusted God.  He heard Him.  Noah expected God to keep His promise because He walked with Him.

He had such a relationship with God that Noah could hear God’s message, he knew God’s love and trusted God enough to obey and do that which they did not understand.  It was not just that what God told him to do was more important than his own enjoyment, it was that his relationship with God was more important.

He heard, he obeyed because he trusted God.

Because of that trust, because of that relationship, he was ready.

Not because of the actions, but because of the God who asked him to act.

When the rains came, he was ready.

For he knew that God was with him.

Sound familiar?

There were days in the last church year, many of them, where I wanted to cry out, Come o Come Immanuel, but for the wrong reasons.  To be honest, it was a tiring year!  It was a year where I would have rejoiced in Christ’s coming, simply to be done with it all.  To see an end to suffering, both globally, and among those I know.  To see the promises of no more sorrow, no more tears occur – for that reason.

That is not the reason to want Christ to come though. The reason is the advent, of the parousia – the coming of God– of His presence, here with us, That we would fully come to understand what it means that He is our God, that we are His people.

Key – Noah heard God’s voice….

The key is hearing Him.

Hearing Him mark us as His people, as He cleanses us of sin in baptism…

Hearing Him say, Take and eat this is my body, take and drink, this is my blood. Broken and shed for you…

Hearing Him say, I am, I am your God and you are my people.

Hearing Him, knowing His presence will result in a day when He will fully reveal His presence to us, as we stand around His throne, singing His praises, as He welcomes us hom.

For hearing God’s voice, knowing His presence, that is what advent and His second coming is all about…

Knowing that we dwell in His love, His mercy, His peace. That love and mercy and peace that is beyond all understanding, as it guards our hearts and minds in Christ.  AMEN!

 

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