Our November 28 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The December 5 Sunday worship service as well as the December 1 Advent service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. With an upturn in county COVID cases, we recommend masks even for those who are vaccinated.
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.
Jeremiah 33:14-16 | Psalm 25:1-9
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 | Luke 21:25-36
Today, we have begun a new Church year. Advent is the season which begins the Church calendar. Advent is a season of discipline, anticipation; expectation and waiting (just ask the children). You may have noticed, that Advent’s themes are very similar to those of the season of Lent.
We anticipate the coming of our Lord, the promised “righteous branch” which God will cause “to spring up for David.” There will be signs. Jesus lists some signs of his return in the Gospel lesson, which is Luke’s account of the same text that we had from Mark’s Gospel two weeks ago. The signs haven’t changed since then. Signs that the disciples are to look for, signs which will be a precursor of his Advent. Signs that we are to look for as well.
We see signs all of the time. We are overwhelmed by signs, especially on the highway. To be able to drive, we are supposed to know the meaning of the road signs; stop, caution, winding road ahead, occasionally accompanied with red, green or yellow lights. Signs which tell us what highway we are on, where “in the world we are,” and how to get to where we are supposed to be going. My favorite sign actually pops up inside my car periodically. It reads, “It is dangerous to take your eyes off of the road.” And, you have to push a button to dismiss it. But, of course, to read the sign, you have to take your eyes off of the road to read it, and to find the button to push. Some engineer must have thought long and hard for that one.
There are other signs on the road, which we also run into. Parking lot signs at malls, which are put there so that you can find your car more easily after you exit with all of those Christmas purchases. I just tell Ruth to look for the white car. She just buys more things online, instead of going shopping. Billboards, trying to sell us things that we don’t probably need. Weather signs, especially this time of year; wind in the trees, clouds growing darker, other drivers slowing down ahead. And this time of year, one of my least favorite, deer running. At my last count, there are three dead deer on the side of the road on 67 on the way to Festus. It’s not the first deer that you worry about, it’s the second or third that you don’t see yet. All signs, which we have become accustomed to looking for, and whose meanings we should know.
In the Gospel lesson, the signs all point to the return of Christ in glory. We tend to think of Advent as only the season of preparing for Christmas, the birth of the Christ child. But it is not. It is more. Yes, we anticipate and expect the coming of the Christ child, as we celebrate God becoming incarnate as a human being, and dwelling among us.
But that child grew up. He had a ministry among us. He taught, preached, healed, and made known the love of God to all people. He was arrested and crucified for our sins, resurrected by God’s glory, and ascended into heaven, where he now sits at the right hand of God. He has promised to return in glory, to redeem and reclaim the whole world, and take us to himself.
Advent is the season of awaiting the birth of Christ. It is also the season of awaiting the Risen Lord. The coming of the Messiah in glory. The Jews waited 460 years for the promised Messiah, until he came, and most of them missed him. The Church has waited in equal anticipation for his return, for nearly two millennia. But he will come again. He has sent His Spirit to keep us in his truth until then. He comes to us in his Holy Supper, in, with and under the elements of the bread and wine, whenever and wherever we celebrate it.
But he will also come to us fully, in glory, at the end of this age. He will bring with him the fullness of the Kingdom of God, and establish his kingdom among us for all people to see and behold. Until then, we are to keep watch, wait, and look for the signs of his coming. Then, we will know that the time of our “redemption has drawn near.” It draws near now. So watch; keep alert, be ready, for he surely comes.