Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully

Read Matthew 24:1-15.  It’s right there, a message of hope found smack in the middle of a passage devoted to the pain and sorrow found inhuman sin and social upheaval.

Jesus and his disciples had entered the city of Jerusalem.  The disciples were looking at the beauty and majesty of the temple complex.  Their passions are stirred by the sights and sounds of people at worship.  Then Jesus ruins their buzz.  “It won’t be long before all this lays in ruins.” (Paraphrase of verse 2).

Later that day, in a private moment, the disciples ask:  “When will this happen?  What will be the sign of its occurrence?  What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world?” (See verse 3).

 Jesus gives a litany of things to look for – but goes out of his way to say, “This is not the end.”  Instead  it’s a beginning.

 Jesus speaks of wars, famine, earthquakes, social unrest, conflict between nations and peoples.  The world will seem to be falling apart at its hinges.  But then Jesus inserts a word of hope.

Evil will spread and cause many people to stop loving others. But if you keep on being faithful right to the end, you will be saved.

Jesus talks about “having faith” or “being faithful.”  These are not words about a belief system or a list of doctrines.  This is a word about the direction and focus of one’s life.  In a world being torn apart – where basic decency and kindness are missing – Jesus says that some will stay focused.  Some will keep their eyes on Jesus.

The Advent/Christmas season seems to be so much about consumption – about the fulfillment of our wants, wishes, and whims.  Oh sure, we hunger for the highest things – for hope, peace, joy, and love.  The problem is that we think we can satify those hungers gathering more STUFF.  Yet the more we move away from the nativity toward the malls and shopping centers, the greater the hunger pains will be.

 This text gives us a different orientation – a different direction for living.  

The message of Advent is that our God becomes incarnate in human flesh.  This message is fulfilled in Jesus.  Jesus means that God is with us NOW.  One of his names, Immanuel, means “God with us!”  In the midst of all the troubles and heartaches of the day, God is here. 

The Psalmist said, “Even If I Make My Bed In Hell – God Is There!”

We cannot escape the loving presence of God.  Even in the midst of the worst that our world and our lives might serve us, God is still there in Jesus.  How great is that?

So in the midst of all thetroubles of life, the reality is God.  That truth should inform our worship and our faith life formation.  It should serve as a constant reminder that our lives should be focused on Jesus.  He is our hope.   Even when the world seems to be going to “hell in a hand-basket” – OUR HOPE RESTS IN GOD’S LOVE, REVEALED IN THE SON, JESUS THE CHRIST.

 When Jesus is our hope, then our lives will be marked by love.  In a world were love SEEMS to be lost, the lives of those whose faith and worship is focused on Jesus will make all the difference.

 Advent is a time to refocus on Jesus.  This is all about worship.  We called to WORSHIP FULLY. 

“It starts and ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath. It’s the party of the year.” (From the book Advent Conspiracy)

Leave a Reply