Advent Reflection: Purveyors of Hope

Thomas Long tells a story about a man who was speaking to some friends in his church, punching the air with his finger, pronouncing every word with force, while a dozen of or so other people in the room turned to listen.

“I’ll tell you what keeps me coming to this church.”

The man was speaking to a class that called themselves the “Searchers Class,” and had done so since the time, more than ten years before, when, as young adults, they had formed an alternative church school class. As the “Searchers” crept into middle age, the act of searching itself seemed to take more and more energy. Indeed, the whole business of being a part of the church at all felt, at times, like a burdensome weight, and on this Sunday morning that weight had tugged the conversation toward the question:

Why stay in the church?”  “I will tell you,” he said.

“What keeps me coming to this church.”

By now, every head was now turned in his direction. The sudden rush of interest made him hesitate, uncertain of his own thoughts, but he pushed on.

“It’s strange, I know, but I get the feeling here, like nowhere else, that something is about to happen.”

The feeling that something is about to happen.  That’s why we stay connected to Jesus – especially in times like this.

You might be tempted to look at what confronts us and feel a bit of despair.  Resist that feeling.  This is a great time to be the church.  This is a great time to be alive.  This is a great time to celebrate Advent and talk about Christmas.

When all hope seemed lost, God entered the world in the most unexpected of ways.

When things seemed to be at their worst, God in Christ offered hope and redemption.

We get to be the purveyors of that message through both our words and deeds.


The Witness Of Preaching, Second Edition
by: Thomas G. Long
publisher: Westminster John Knox Press, published: 2005-10-20
ASIN: 0664229433
EAN: 9780664229436
sales rank: 30186
price: $11.50 (new), $9.87 (used)

This thorough and detailed revision of The Witness of Preaching is even clearer and more helpful than the first edition. Long has updated the language, expanded the key chapter on biblical exegesis, and included more examples of sermon forms, illustrations, and conclusions. He continues to critically engage the best thinkers in the field of homiletics, bringing into the conversation both important new voices and the latest works of those who appeared in the first edition. In addition, he addresses some of the new forces at work, such as the use of video clips and PowerPoint presentations in sermons.


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