Archive for November, 2012

Advent is a Season of Waiting

November 30, 2012

PLEASE NOTE: This Advent season at Faith Lutheran we are using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “God is in the Manger” devotional booklet for daily devotions and weekly sermon themes. What follows has been taken from that booklet.

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. Revelation 3:30

Jesus stands at the door knocking. In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of the human being among us. Do you want to close the door or open it?

It may strike us as strange to see Christ in such a near face, but he said it, and those who withdraw from the serious reality of the Advent message cannot talk of the coming of Christ in their heart, either…

Christ is knocking. It’s still not Christmas, but it’s also still not the great last Advent, the last coming of Christ. Through all the Advents of our life that we celebrate runs the longing for the last Advent, when the word will be: “See, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is, a season of waiting for the last Advent, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.

Let us pray: Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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An Un-Christmas-Like Idea

November 29, 2012

PLEASE NOTE:  This Advent season at Faith Lutheran we are using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “God is in the Manger” devotional booklet for daily devotions and weekly sermon themes.  What follows has been taken from that booklet.

 

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”  Luke 2:8-14

 

When the old Christendom spoke of the coming again of the Lord Jesus, it always thought first of all of a great day of judgment.  And, as un-Christmas-like as this idea may appear to us, it comes from early Christianity and must be taken with utter seriousness….

 

The coming of God is truly not only a joyous message, but is, first, frightful news for anyone who has a conscience.  And only when we have felt the frightfulness of the matter can we know the incomparable favor.

 

God comes in the midst of evil, in the midst of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world.  And in judging it, he loves us, he purifies us, he sanctifies us, he comes to us with his grace and love.  He makes us happy as only children can be happy.

 

Let us pray:  Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.  By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Not Everyone Can Wait

November 28, 2012

PLEASE NOTE:  This Advent season at Faith Lutheran we are using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “God is in the Manger” devotional booklet for daily devotions and weekly sermon themes.  What follows has been taken from that booklet.

 

Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.  Luke 6:20-26

 

Not everyone can wait:  neither the sated for the satisfied nor those without proper respect can wait.  The only ones who can wait are people who carry restlessness around with them and people who look up with reverence to the greatest in the world.

 

Thus Advent can be celebrated only by those whose souls give them no peace, who know that they are poor and incomplete, and who sense something of the greatness that is supposed to come, before which they can only bow in humble timidity, waiting until he reclines himself toward us – the Holy One himself, God in the child in the manger.

 

God is coming; the Lord Jesus is coming; Christmas is coming.  Rejoice, O Christendom!

 

Let us pray:  Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.  By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Waiting is an Art

November 27, 2012

PLEASE NOTE:  This Advent season at Faith Lutheran we are using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “God is in the Manger” devotional booklet for daily devotions and weekly sermon themes.  What follows has been taken from that booklet.

 

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth… Isaiah 11:1-4a

 

Celebrating Advent means being able to wait.  Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten.  It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot.  But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespectful hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them.  Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting – that is, of hopefully doing without – will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.

 

Those who do not know how it feels to struggle anxiously with the deepest questions of life, and to patiently look forward with anticipation until the truth is revealed, cannot even dream of the splendor of the moment in which clarity is illuminated for them.  And for those who do not want to win the friendship and love of another person – who do not expectantly open up their soul to the soul of the other person, until friendship and love come, until they make their entrance – for such people the deepest blessing of the one life of two intertwined souls will remain forever hidden.

 

For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait.  It happens not here in a storm but according to the divine laws of sprouting, growing, and becoming.

 

Let us pray:  Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.  By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

The Advent Season is a Season of Waiting

November 26, 2012

PLEASE NOTE:  This Advent season at Faith Lutheran we are using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “God is in the Manger” devotional booklet for daily devotions and weekly sermon themes.  What follows has been taken from that booklet.

 

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.  Revelation 3:30

 

Jesus stands at the door knocking.  In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help.  He confronts you in every person that you meet.  As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you.  That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message.  Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of the human being among us.  Do you want to close the door or open it?

 

It may strike us as strange to see Christ in such a near face, but he said it, and those who withdraw from the serious reality of the Advent message cannot talk of the coming of Christ in their heart, either…

 

Christ is knocking.  It’s still not Christmas, but it’s also still not the great last Advent, the last coming of Christ.  Through all the Advents of our life that we celebrate runs the longing for the last Advent, when the word will be:  “See, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

 

The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is, a season of waiting for the last Advent, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. 

 

Let us pray:  Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.  By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.