Great service, with lots of expected high church activities…procession…sprinkling with Holy Water as we renewed our vows on the ‘birthday ‘ of the church…..great hymns, especially ” Such Love”…351 during Holy Communion.
Also 355, the closing hymn, ‘we’ve a story to tell to the nations’, and one of Father Sirano’s, and many others including yours truly, favourite hymns, ” Thou dids’t leave thy throne and thy kingly crown…..
Ret. Church Army Sister Norma Thmpson, shared a powerful message from Andrew’s journey with John the Baptist and then Christ. The key question that Jesus posed to him, and which throughout the long history of the Church, has become our question also ” What are you looking for”, was the title of her sermon.
And so Sister Norma reminded us that our Patron Saint, St. Andrew ( an evangelist, a disciple of Christ and eventually a martyr), followed Christ, remained with Him, and then told others about him. In that journey, Andrew responded to Jesus’ question, asking Him where was He going? And Jesus encouraged him, by saying ‘ Come and see’. And so Andrew, inviting his brother Simon Peter, went and remained the entire day with Jesus; thus starting a life changing experience.
In this context then, Sister reminded us, that Christainity is all about building a relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus. For Jesus came not to form a denomination, but to establish a relationship with the lost and the lonely and the repentant, so that the Kningdom of God might be established. Further we need to remove anything in our lives which may prevent us from spending time with Jesus…and here with an almost altar call fervor, Sister Norma invited us to ponder deeply on this issue, as too many people allow thing so this world, no matter how important they might be, to prevent us from committing oursleves fully to Christ.
Also Sister invited us not just establish a relationship with Jesus, but to spend quality time with Him, learning. To be like Him and listening to Him. She gets up at four am each morning and ‘religiously’ spends an hour or hour and a half with the Lord. Finally, there is no point in spending time with Jesus, warming the benches and expecting the church to look after you when you die, unless to become people of action – transformed by our relationship with Jesus. Spreading the Gospel, in word and in deed….especially in deed.
So Advent is a time of expectancy. Not a time to consider how to commit ‘economic suicide’ for a whole month. Not a time to get depressed about our station in life. But rather to celebrate the first coming of Jesus as Savior, and to look forward to the second coming , as Judge of all men.