1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Thoughts on The Word:
Happy New Year! Today marks the beginning of the Chruchs' liturgical year. The beginnning of the season we call Advent is a time of anticipation, of expectation and excitement. Excitement not only at the upcoming festivities of Christmas where we recall the first advent of our Lord, when he appeared among us as a baby, born to a virgin. Excitement also as we anticipate the second advent of our Lord and saviour when he returns as a triumphant King!
Last week we saw imagery of this great King, and learnt about his Kingship and how we can be participants in the kingdom. This week we see some more imagery of our triumphant King in our Gospel as Jesus foretells of his return with great power and glory. However there is also a warning in this - the time of his return will see much fear, and foreboading. You see the return of Christ will bring much joy for those of us who have accepted Him, but it will also bring a great realisation to all those who have rejected him of what they have done - and what now awaits them.
When Jesus returns, he will come in a position of judgement on creation, and those who have willingly and knowingly rejected him will need to give an account - so to will those of us who have accepted his offer of salvation. The difference is when our list of transgressions are recounted before the throne of Judgement we can respond confidently to each charge ';guilty, but pardoned through the atoning work of my saviour'. Sadly there are many who will not say those words or something similar... ther are literally billions of people on this planet who have not accepted the open invitation to forgiveness which is before them.
During this time of Advent then, when we both remember the first coming and anticipate the second coming of our Lord, let us renew our own committment to be ambassadors of Christ to the world. We are called to be beacons of the hope and love of Christ. We are called to be proclaimers of the Gospel, through our words, and through our actions. In this season of Advent then, as we have at the forefront of our minds both the joy we will feel, and the anguish and fear that awaits those who do not know our Lord at his second coming, let us examine ourselves and our lives to ensure we are beacons and ambassadors of Christ, let us "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly...". Let us also though re-commit ourselves to taking every opportunity given us to proclaim the Gospel, let us not be ashamed of it lest we cause one more person to come before our Lord at his second advent and hear the words “...You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels...' (Matthew 25:41 - NRSV)
May God richly bless you this week and throughout this ne Christian year.