Dear Church Family and Community,
I still remember all the words. I sing them whenever they come to mind. They were simple, they were profound, and they were a blessing to me.
We didn’t know what love was ’til He came
And He gave love a face and He gave love a name
And He gave love away like the sky gives the rain and sun
We were looking for heroes, He came looking for the lost
We were searching for glory, and He showed us a cross
Now we know what love is ’cause He loved us
All the way to kingdom come (All the way)
All the way to kingdom come
Years later, I am so grateful for Rich Mullins’ song All the Way to Kingdom Come. That final album of his, The Jesus Record, probably had more impact on my understanding of Jesus as just about anything else. I believe that my real focus and thinking about the Creation of God’s Kingdom found in the coming of Jesus our Lord began with those simple lyrics.
Matthew begins his account of the Gospel by declaring Jesus as heavenly and Israel’s royal king. Mark gets right to it, recounting the work and ministry of Jesus. Luke chooses to give a fuller account of Jesus’ birth to highlight the significance of Christ coming to the world and that time in particular. But John, the one who perhaps knew Jesus the most, begins by explaining the incarnation and what it meant: the eternal Word became flesh and dwelled among us, the Creator entered into His creation, and Light came to shine in the darkness so that all who believe through faith could become children of God.
Christ coming brings the kingdom of God near. Sisters and brothers, welcome to our season of Advent, where we wait expectantly, prepare our hearts and lives, and we celebrate that Christ has come (and that Christ is coming). This year during our Sunday morning services, we are specifically going to focus on the Creation of God’s Kingdom that Christ coming brings. We will do so by looking at the hope, peace, joy, and love that our God gifted His people in the Scriptures and that He blesses us with today. The Kingdom is at hand, praise God Christ has come!
Last year, we journeyed through Advent looking at Mary and Our God of Hope, Anna and Peace from God, Elizabeth and Joy (Celebrating God’s Blessings), and Love: Christ in us, Christ for us, and Christ with us. This year we return to hope, peace, joy and love by looking at Joseph, Simeon, Zechariah, and, of course, Jesus our Christ. In Joseph we learn that true hope is found in the work and will of God. Simeon reminds us that there is true peace found in God’s promises and faithfulness to God. Zechariah gives us a few lessons in praise and worship of God, and lets us know that there is great joy to those who surrender all before God. The stories of these brothers are in some ways similar to our own. But for these saints of old, and we the people of God today, Christ has come, and we can see and know His Creation of God’s Kingdom for us.
Last Sunday culminated a great weekend of praise and worship to our God, and ministry and service for His glory. Thanks to Pastor Carmen and her great team as they loved and blessed our community through love, prayers, laughter, and, yes, even the passing out of many turkeys and Thanksgiving meals. A special thanks also to our Deacons and set-up and clean-up volunteers as well as Pastors Brie, Esteban, Lynda, Patty and our Church Administrator, Sheila Derr for all their work to support our Baptism Sunday. We were so blessed as four sisters and one brother stepped forward in faith to be baptized. If you missed hearing this message, please be sure to check it out here on our website, or through our sermon podcast on Soundcloud, Google Play, iTunes, or Stitcher.
The Creation of God’s Kingdom happens in the coming of Christ, His Son, who is Jesus our Lord. This season of waiting and expectation is also a time of celebration. We praise God that Christ has come. We are blessed that Christ is still coming into our world and into hearts and lives. And we are and will be eternally grateful that Christ will come at the end of days. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (John 1:1-5, 14)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104