NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2022
We will observe this Sunday as the Second Sunday of Advent. We will light the Second candle on the Advent wreath to represent the theme of “PEACE.” The assigned gospel text from Matthew 3 for this “Peace Sunday,” is John the Baptist with his message of “Repentance.” To most folks that makes for an odd pairing.
Advent is a season of preparation for the birth of the Christ Child anew into our hearts and lives. Now, most Americans prepare for the holidays with lights and gifts, cards and food, and good cheer, sometimes in liquid form; but Advent is intended to remind us to prepare spiritually. So, in the text, John the Baptist gives us some direction to help us. He says, “prepare the way of the Lord.” For us today spiritually that means make way in our lives for Christ to reign through the Holy Spirit’s leading, guiding and directing our paths.
But then John gives this direction (v.8) “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.” To many, this message of repentance seems to take the fun out of Christmas. On that point I’d disagree. I believe John’s direction in verse 8, is a message to help us have hope and peace and put the joy back in our Advent preparation for Christmas. John the Baptist’s repentance message calls us not to the way that Christmas is, but to the way Christmas ought to be. This Advent time of Hope (last week), and Peace (this Sunday), Joy and Love the following two Sundays ought to be a time of learning to be free from guilt, condemnation, self-absorption and unhealthy pride. For that to occur, for us to experience real peace, there must be repentance.
Join us for worship this “Peace Sunday” in-person, by Zoom or Facebook Livestream. My Advent sermon this week is designed to help us in “Preparing by Making Peace,” based on Matthew 3:1-12.