Greetings and congratulations! It’s an honor to be here on this first Sunday in Advent, on this your 60th year of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Your work and ministry, in and on behalf if the United Church of Christ matters. Your light is a beacon of love and hope to and for this community that is helping us collectively radiate the love Jesus Christ throughout this nation at a time when darkness, fear and doubt are being sold cheaply on every corner of every neighborhood around this globe.
So, thank you! Thank you for your generous giving of your many gifted leaders who help live in covenant through our wider church. Thank you for sharing your treasure that empowers the ministry of this conference and our national church. On behalf of the nearly 200 churches and 400 authorized ministers of the Central Atlantic Conference and the over 5,000 congregations of the UCC. We salute your faithfulness and are grateful for friendship and your witness.
As we take just a bit of time this morning to engage God’s word, please join me in prayer…
One of the thing’s I’ve come to learn about life, is that it is spent waiting. From dusk to dawn – regardless of our station in life or the day of the week; we wait. As Jan Richardson‘s poem suggests… we are all waiting for something. Whether it’s good news or bad news… time to go to work or on vacation. The work of our lives, is the work of waiting.
In Christ, we’ve been taught that we should wait on the Lord. And, while most of us good God-loving Christians profess to do just that; I believe our text suggests that – we love God best when God is sitting still. Yes, we love the Holy One and, considering the alterative, one day we’d like to meet our Creator. But the truth is, the thought of God actually showing up, our text suggests… could be a pretty frightening thing.
The heavens will be ripped open… mountains will shudder… forest will catch fire and pots will boil over. Enemies will square off, face-to-face. As nations, we’ll be held accountable. Yes, in theory, we wait longingly for God to show up. In truth, at least, for me, the thought is quite frightening.
And so, we stay busy. Don’t we? We stay busy and we look busy. We hope God will see the busyness of our waiting and bless us. Amen? But, I wonder, if in our waiting there should be something more. Perhaps, if there is to be genuine work in our waiting, we are also called to reach for something holy extravagant.
Waiting – from where I sit – is hard work. It requires trust. It requires patience. It requires an unmitigating faith that demands what God has promised… to show up and show up BIG, that we can proclaim… “No ear heard, nor eye seen, a God like you who works for those who wait for on the Lord”!
If this were to be so, what might that mean for a congregation such as yours, after 60 faithful of generosity and service years? What would it mean for you to fall in love with God in Christ, anew, like for the very first time!
What would it mean for you to do the work of waiting by seeking something so holy extravagant, that when God shows up the very heavens ripped open and the mountains quaked? The best things in life are often waiting for [us] at the exit ramp[s] of [our] comfort zone[s]. –Karen Salmansohn.
Beloved, I think that while waiting is the work of our lives, mostly we are waiting to simply get by. But what if, we were to wait BIG? What if we were to stand on the promises of Jesus Christ and offer to wait on the Creator of the heavens and earth to come down and use you – at the ripe age of 60 – to accomplish something that you could never do on your own?! Something holy extravagant, that would cause those who see to proclaim… “No ear heard, nor eye seen, a God like you who works for those who wait for on the Lord”! and, they might come and join you?
We’ve been reminded of the Gospel Jesus Christ. Let’s make it matter!