Rev. Dean Lueking
[Jesus said,]“Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25: 41-46)
During Advent, 2021, we do well to hold close to our hearts the key theme of this too-often neglected season of the church year.
That theme is hope.
Advent hope takes many forms such as including the person otherwise alone during the coming holiday gatherings, sending that overdue note to the friend who needs to hear from you, commending the teenager beginning to learn how satisfying service is, reminding someone long absent from worship how much they are missed. And there are so many more, much needed in these Covid 19 times of social distancing.
Including singing! Let’s not forget to sing, masks notwithstanding. (Concerning masks, a sign in a local shop puts it bluntly: “Wear the damn mask and wash your hands, too.”)
Advent hymnody is a priceless treasure drawn from all traditions of the Christian faith, spread across the centuries from the ancient church onward into our own time (and composers from our congregation). Do you have a hymnal for use at home? If not, please consider getting one and enjoying the immense good of singing the faith there as well as in church. I grew up with that tradition and recommend it wholeheartedly
We do three things every time we sing hymns together: offer praise to God, upbuild each other in faith, bring contentment to our own souls. That’s uniquely Christian. I know of no other religion in which the people come together and sing).
Such Advent-keeping leads on to year-around growth in grace, enabling us to welcome ever more faithfully the gracious Lord whose welcoming arms are ever open to us.
Even so, come Lord Jesus. Quickly come!