And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
-1 Thessalonians 3:13
Advent is about the “coming days.” God’s people have always lived in great expectation, but that expectation finds specific, repeated enunciation in the texts appointed for these four weeks. In our Holy Bible we read reference to a “righteous Branch to spring up for David” and awaiting the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints. Our Lord’s contemporaries hoped for the time “to stand before the Son of Man.” With them we eagerly await the coming days: another Christmas celebration, a second coming, and the advent of our Lord in the holy word and our Lord’s Supper.
Sunday Worship Music
During our Traditional worship services we will sing the upbeat Advent hymn Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying. Jesus tells us to be alert at all times in today’s Gospel reading, and we sing Wake, Awake! We express our unbridled joy about Jesus breaking into our lives using the words of this 16th-century hymn by Philipp Nicolai.
During our New Day Praise service we will sing O Come Emmanuel. This contemporary adaptation by Paul Baloche comes from the ancient song singing of our deep longing for Emmanuel- “God with us” to rescue us from all that holds us captive.
For Further Reflection: Worship Corner– The Sending
Blessings (Numbers 6:23-25) and commissions to go forth (The four gospels, Acts, etc.) abound in the bible. Similarly, we end worship with a section which seeks to deliberately send us out into the world. We say “Go in peace” and are told to “Serve the Lord”, “Share the good news”, or “Remember the poor.”
In a way it is no surprise this section of worship is often the shortest. Having received God’s word, the peace of Christ, fortification for the journey, and having been reminded of whose we are, we are sent out as quickly as possible to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19) and live lives in response to the grace received through Christ Jesus (Romans 12:11). We simply cannot wait any longer to go spread the good news.
What can you do in your daily life to live as Jesus taught? What sacrifices can you make to benefit those less fortunate? Who is your needy neighbor and how can you help them? How does this life lived in service draw us back to God on Sunday morning?