As we begin another year, complete with all the changes and disruptions that you and I are facing just now, I am thankful for the leadership of the lectionary and the church year. Following God is a process that takes our entire lives, and we have never reached our destination or fulfilled our destiny as long as we continue to draw breath here in God’s world. The ancient wisdom of the Church year reminds us that conversion to Christ is a process that continually begins again and constantly invites our response. Our year began with Advent, wherein we remembered that God came and comes to us in Jesus. As Ed Laarman led us through the Advent readings, he helped us remember that God comes to ordinary people and meets us right where we are. God is the Author of this relationship and will always be the perfector of our faith. God gives, God comes, God redeems, and God invites.
After Advent, we moved into the short season of Christmas, which lasts for the “12 days of Christmas” and culminates in Epiphany. After we celebrate God’s gift to us on Christmas, we remember that the purpose of this coming is for each one of us to have a personal “epiphany” or encounter with the living God. God comes to us and opens our eyes to see that in spite of frequent appearances to the contrary, God is with us. God is active in our world for those with eyes to see.
Next up in the flow of our year comes the baptism of Jesus and the call of the disciples. We who have received God’s great gift to us are now encouraged to rsvp to God. We next look at the calling of the disciples. The God who has come and revealed himself to us now invites us to join him in what he is doing in our world. This will mark the entire movement of the rest of our lives.
Jesus calls us to follow him in his mission of love. It is an invitation that he extends not once, but a hundred times a day. I love that I am forgiven for responding so pitifully and invited to do better. No matter how I might have failed and still do, the mighty God who comes welcomes me to try again. I want to get better. I want to be more. God not only invites us in to this process, but goes with us every step of the way, helping us do far more than we could have imagined we could. God is looking for more of us who are willing to not only notice his coming, but respond. We may either yield to this King who has come to us or remain outside and separated. It is your choice. No one can choose for you. Your will is your own. Your God has come to earth. He has revealed himself and now calls you. A new year is a perfect time to ask what will I do with my chance to respond this year.
I took my creche down from my front doorway this week. The baby Jesus has been received and celebrated. Time to put him away. Now we remember that the Son of God is an adult with a plan for a Kingdom to begin. His plan relies on you and me. What will we do? Your answer will determine not only your destiny, but the well-being of those around you. God is working his purpose out through those who respond to his coming. The King is coming, but the King is already here. May we be found among those willing to follow him this church year and forevermore.
I’ll see you in Church,