the tentmaker

daily thoughts on the common lectionary

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Location: Sharpsburg, Georgia, United States

"...because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together — by trade they were tentmakers." Acts 18:3. Tentmaker is a title taken by bi-vocational pastors. As such, I am both a pastor and a project manager. I am a pastor of a local congregation of moderate, accepting and affirming people who worship in the Baptist tradition. We call our church "Hope Memorial Baptist" and we are about 40 in number. I am also a project manager of major construction projects for the State of Georgia. My home and church is in rural Coweta County, between Peachtree City and Newnan, with a mailing address of Sharpsburg, Georgia.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday 11/27/05 Year B - Advent 1


This Week's Texts

Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-19
1 Corinthians 1:1-19
Mark 13:24-37

THE CANDLES OF ADVENT - YEAR B
THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT: HOPE


Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday in which we recall the hope we have in Christ.

The prophets of Israel all spoke of the coming of Christ, of how a saviour would be born, a king in the line of David. They spoke of how he would rule the world wisely and bless all nations.

On Christmas day the Christ of our hope was born. On Good Friday the Christ of our hope died. On Easter day the Christ of our hope rose from the dead. He then ascended into heaven. On the last day, the Christ of our hope will come again to establish his kingdom over all things on earth.

As the follower of Christ, we await his return. We light this candle to remember that as he came to us as humbly in the manger at Bethlehem and gave light to the world, so he is coming again in power to deliver his people.

We light this candle to remind us to be alert and to watch for his return.

LET US PRAY - Loving God, we thank you for the hope you give us. Help us prepare our hearts for the Lord's coming. Bless our worship. Help us live holy and righteous lives. We ask it in the name of the one born in Bethlehem. Amen.
____________________
© Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1993, 1996, 1999

Hope

Advent is here, and Christmas is soon to follow. Christmas as a holiday has ceased to have much impact on me. Maybe it's the commercialization that everyone complains about as they drag their kids, kicking and screaming, to every store in town to find just the right gift for uncle Herb or Minnie Lee. A Wal-Mart somewhere had a riot of 300 angry shoppers who had waited in line twelve hours to get the latest electronic gadget that EVERYONE must have in order to be saved. Of course after they have it for five minutes it loses it's novelty and the search for salvation continues in all the wrong places.

One thing I have learned from the study of the history of the monastic life, is the necessity of learing to be satisfied with what you have. Not being impatient for the things that elude your grasp and not grasping for those things that you do not need.

But if Christmas as a holiday has ceased to have meaning for me, Advent is filled with meaning and symbolism. Advent is a time of taking stock of where we are. It is a time of remembering what God and Jesus have done for us. It is a time of re-evaluating our life situation in the light of the grace and love of God.

Have you ever wondered Why bad things happen to good people? Have things happened to you, your friends and loved ones or others in the world that made you stop and wonder how could a loving God cause that to happen? Is your faith tested? Do you find your hope weakening? Advent is the time for the renewal of your faith and concentrating once again on the hope of the world, the coming of the Word of God first as the Christ Child, then as the Jesus who saves us from our sin, and then the Savior who brings Hope to the world that our suffering will not be in vain.

The writer of Hebrews says:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1

Our faith is that the goodness and love of God will keep us safe from the evil of sin and death. With the evil around us, this safety net is hard to see. But we certainly hope for it even though it is not seen.

The Apostle Paul was a pastoral man, a practical man. Most of his writing that comes to us are letters of practical instruction for churches on how to live the Christian life. Listen to what he has to say.

...Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25

So many people ask for a sign. Show me a sign dear Lord and I will believe in you, I will trust in you. Paul tells us to have faith, to have hope for those promises that we cannot see. And if we have faith and hope we will patiently wait for the Lord to act.

Again, Paul says:

Romans 8:18-39
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.

Yes, we have times when we suffer. But these sufferings of the mortal body and soul cannot compare with the glory that can and will be revealed in us if we endure our sufferings in peace with and through the spirit of the love of God.

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility... in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Paul speaks of the anticipation of the coming among us of our Lord Jesus as the anticipation of a young mother in pain yet in expectation of the coming of her child.

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

What a comfort it is to know that when we don’t have the right words or know what it is that we need, the Holy Spirit is there praying for us. The Spirit knows us, he knows our needs, pain, our sorrows. He knows what God’s will for our lives is and he prays with “sighs too deep for words.”

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Paul tells us that we should know that all things work together for good. But he knows the human weakness and tendency for doubt. He is pleading with his people and with us to remember the power of God to be in control of all things. And to remember the Love of God to always have our best interest at heart. We can’t possibly know beforehand what God has in store for us. But how often have you looked back on an event or time in your past that was difficult and painful and said, “God was moving in my life then.”

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?

And since God knows what suffering is, having given up his Son for all of us, does he not know and feel our own suffering?

Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Hear the great faith of the Apostle Paul:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Solid Rock
Words: Edward Mote, circa 1834

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2 Comments:

Blogger Pilot Mom said...

Amen!

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

11/24/2005 2:09 AM  
Blogger curious servant said...

I'm thinking about trying to put together a birthday party at our church for our Lord. A sort of pot luck thing in which we invite the public.

I love advent!

11/26/2005 10:31 PM  

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