Thursday, December 5, 2013

What I Wait For

As I noted in my material introducing the new sermon series in this past Sunday's sermon, Advent was originally (and, I hope still kinda is for people) a season of preparation and waiting for the coming of the Christ Child.  It is also meant to be a season of penitence as we heed the exhortation of John the Baptist to repent and prepare the way for the Lord, and I hope to make that an underpinning of all three of my remaining Advent sermons before we arrive at Christmas.

I realize that I may sound like a regular ol' Christmas crank to you, but I promise you that I am not out to ruin Christmas...or at least certainly not anymore so than what the song Christmas Shoes has already done (if you haven't heard it, I'm sorry, I won't even post a link to the song here.  I'm too protective of y'all).

But if we forget WHY Jesus had to come to earth in the first place, I worry that Christmas loses its meaning.  Instead of celebrating the coming of the Savior we need, we end up just celebrating some other kid's birthday.

So I wait, as I have for the past 27 years, for Jesus's coming.  Because His arrival offers me hope for so many other things that I wait for.

I wait for a church that stops preaching that God wants you to be wealthy, or that God hates you for who you are, and instead preaches that God loves you and calls you to be a new, far better version of yourself, a person and a Christian called to the causes of justice and  mercy.

I wait for a church that cares less about your sexual orientation and more about your passion for the Gospel.

I wait for a church that cares less about the rules it makes up for itself and more about creating relationships and making disciples.

I wait for a church in which women are treated as my theological, pastoral, and Biblical peers, not as complements to my masculinity.

I wait for a church that stands up for the poor instead of scolding them.

I wait for a church that cares less for legalism and more for grace.

And beyond the church, I wait for a world where, as Isaiah says, swords are beaten into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks.

I wait for a world in which 22,000 children no longer die preventable deaths  every day due to starvation and malnourishment.

I wait for a world in which the exploitation of women and children for slavery, domestic abuse, and sexual ownership is justly punished and swiftly eradicated.

I wait for a world in which protection of the unborn and the preservation of women's health are not mutually exclusive.

I wait for a world that judges value not through currency, but through charity.

I simply wait for a church--and a world--of goodwill.

I wait for all of these things.  Where I am able, I try to bring them about myself.

But as I so often admit here, I am just a man, and a weak man at that.

And so I cast my faith upon God and His justice and grace instead.

And so I pray to God to give me the strength to make this world better.

And so I hope for others to hear, and react, to the Good News that the soon-arriving Jesus offers.

And so, in the end, I wait.

I wait for Him.  Humble, fragile Him.  Born into nothing, yet worth everything.

And I promise you, His birth is worth waiting for.

And so I wait.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Yours in Christ,

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