Our December 13 Sunday Advent worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. All scheduled worship services from Thanksgiving through the end of the year will be online only with minimal in-person participation to reduce COVID risks.
The December 20 Sunday worship service and following Christmas services will be held without in-person attendance because of the rise in COVID cases in our state. It is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
Sermon Sunday December 13
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 | Psalm 126
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 | John 1:6-8, 19-28
We have a couple of interesting comparisons in the text today. The first is light and darkness. Most people like the light. And some people are afraid of the darkness. Darkness can often denote the unknown, and many people are afraid of the unknown as well as the dark. Darkness can come in many forms.
A friend of mine, who is a Baptist minister in the northern part of the county (yes, I actually have friends who are Baptist ministers), several years ago, he went into a severe depression. And I mean severe. Many of us were worried about him, because he had always been one of the most upbeat of the clergy in the area. The way he describes that part of his life, looking back on it is, “Everything was dark. Everything was black. It was as if there was no light at all. I would just sit there, for days, unable to move.” That is a darkness to fear.
Personally, I don’t fear the dark. I prefer it. I’m a night person. My grandmother used to say it is because I was born at night (my daughter seems to have the same problem). My wife is a morning person, which means she irritates non-morning people. I think that she just likes the morning so she can get her coffee earlier. She prefers the light, lots of it. She is a strange creature. I guess opposites do attract. She will always have lots of lights on. I turn them off. In my office, I often don’t have the lights on. I don’t need them until the sun goes down. Light often hurts my eyes. My grandmother, again, said that I have cat eyes. Unless it is very dark, I can pretty well still see. In bright light, they water, and I squint, and can hardly see. I prefer the dark. But, the dark can also be tricky. It is not always simple, not plain to see in shadow. What you think is there may well be an illusion.
The light reveals what is before you,. Light will also reveal a lot more to a person than what the dark will.
We live in a world which has fallen into darkness, the darkness of sin, death and evil. The light, God’s light (also known as Epiphany which will be coming up in a couple more weeks), reveals to us all of the hazards which the darkness has set before us, and can take their dangers away. It can reveal to us that we are traveling on a more dangerous path than we think we are, and make us aware of those things that may harm us. God’s light also reveals to us how we are covered in sin, which needs to be washed away in faith and in the waters of baptism. It even reveals to us the path or bridge which God has placed before us to safely take us over the cliffs and rocks of our lives. The bridge of Christ, who saves us and brings us up from our sins, death and evil. But, sometimes, even then, we will not see.
John the Baptist comes to bear witness to the light, God’s light. His task was simple, to prepare the people for the coming of Christ. He was the voice of God crying in the wilderness, and crying out to prepare the way. But, we also know that the one greater than John is coming. In this season, we prepare again for the coming of that greater one. So great that even John; who is called the greatest of those born of women; is unable to untie the thong of his sandal. And that was the job of the lowest level of slave. If John the Baptist was that great, and many in his time believed that he was the Messiah, just how much greater is Christ to us? Are we truly ready to receive one such as he into our world? We must prepare our lives to receive one that great. For he bears the very light of God. He is the very light of God. He will baptize, not with water, but with the Holy Spirit of God, and then we are made clean. Our sins are washed away like dirt clinging to us. And Christ’s light makes us whiter than anything of this earth can make us.
Prepare, therefore, make your ways straight, for the true light is breaking into our world. John came to foretell his coming, and to prepare the world for his great light. Now, 2,000 years later, we still need to prepare, for we still are not yet ready to receive him in his glory. For with Him, there is no darkness at all. Prepare. Get ready. For surely he comes.