NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2023
This Sunday is the “First Sunday of Advent.” Liturgically, it’s the first Sunday of the new church year. The word “Advent” simply means “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.” However, for Followers of the Way, “Advent” indicates this time of each year we set apart as a reminder to prepare our hearts and lives for the arrival of Christ anew.
The Season of Advent offers us a grace time to recognize that the deepest longings of our hearts, (that God-shaped vacuum within each of us as St. Augustine called it,) is for God. I grew up where Isaiah 40:31 was always quoted as saying “… but those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.” More contemporary translations replace the word “wait” with “hope,” which better references what Isaiah means in this passage. The Hebrew word for wait has 2 meanings. Using the word “hope” indicates the meaning “wait on” which implies a pro-active, serving kind of waiting; instead of “wait for” which implies sitting back and doing nothing until something happens.
We are to be alert, living out and practicing our faith as we wait for Christ’s return. And that the advice Jesus gives in the assigned passage from Mark 13 for this First Sunday in Advent. “Be alert! Be Watchful.” Jesus repeats this message three times, reminding us of the importance and awareness to living out our faith as we are “Waiting in Hope,” for Christ’s return.
Join us for worship at Covenant this First Sunday in Advent in-person, by Zoom, Facebook Livestream, or YouTube. We will begin on our Advent 2023 journey of what it means for our lives when we are “Waiting in Hope,” which is my sermon titled based on Mark 13:33-37.