I really hadn’t planned on doing more than post links to my previous posts for the 2nd Sunday in Advent (B). But some things have happened that make me wonder about this season of Advent.
First, in a sermon I posted back in October (“Who Shall Feed My Sheep?”) I posted the following thought,
There is a balance between what we do for the church and what we do for God. It has become more of a social thing where we worry about paying the bills or the color of the carpet or when to have the next fund-raiser. If we were more in terms of what the Thessalonian church was doing, then the societal issues would be easily resolved. If the church today were more focused on providing that which the people truly need, then many of the issues that so dominate this world would probably disappear.
The cynic and the skeptic will tell me that this is all well and good but the church has to pay the bills or it cannot do the work. But people don’t talk about the church that pays its bills; they talk and they visit the church that welcomes them as Christ welcomed us. They talk and visit churches where the spirit of the Lord is alive and present in the thoughts, words, deeds, and actions of the members of the church. And I, unfortunately, know from my own experience that visitors to the church don’t want to hear about the financial problems of the church or the need to get involved in the next big church project/fund raiser.
Some comments have been made recently that made me think about this, especially with the Gospel reading for yesterday telling us of John the Baptizer and his telling us that Christ was coming.
So my thought this Monday morning – how do you know if the spirit of the Lord is alive and present in the words, thoughts, deeds and actions of the members of the church?
What signs do you look for that tell you that you will find Christ in the church?
A second note – as we enter deep into the holiday season, I hope that you will not wait until Christmas Day to provide food and meals for the least among you. As I pointed out two weeks ago (“A Particular Point in Time”),
I find too many examples today where that is the case, where the church, despite its teachings and its history, ignores the poor and needy and favors the rich and powerful. Oh, I know that there probably isn’t a church in this country who is not conducting a food drive this week. But what are they doing next week? What are the people of the churches today doing to insure that the Kingdom of God has a chance in this world?
We don’t expect those we feed at “Grannie Annie’s Kitchen” to join our church. But we hope that those who come find Christ in their own way and we hope that others will see the power and presence of Christ in the work that we do. Perhaps someone will come to our church because they know that Christ does work there. (If you are interested, it costs us approximately $600 a month to offer breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays; we get some donations but not always enough. If you would like to help, contact me.)
Here are my previous thoughts for the 2nd Sunday in Advent (Year B):
“The Messiah Is More Just a Piece of Music”– – sermon given at Walker Valley UMC, 5 December 1999
“The Messiah Is More Than A Song”– sermon given at Tompkins Corners UMC, 8 December 2002
“Who Is Coming?”
– posted 4 December 2005
“Preparing the Way”– posted 7 December 2008