We Christians are to “sit down on the bottom rung of the ladder of sanctity and yell for Jesus Christ.” When we do, he will come. He will come to nurture and change us.
Here is a reality check as we move forward from the Christmas event: Mary may have been the first Godbearer. She may have been the ultimate Godbearer. But if you are in relationship with Jesus Christ, then you are a Godbearer too. Everyone who follows in the Jesus way is called to be a Godbearer. That is a huge part of what it means to follow Jesus – bearing God to others.
We know that something is amiss with the world. Christmas Eve, oddly enough, confirms it. There is no pretending that life is some scene from Currier and Ives or a television special neatly presented in a two hour cable channel format. Life is not perfect. And we cannot seem to fix it despite best intentions, efforts, and desires. A part of the story of Christmas is that God is not happy with the way things are either. Thankfully, God is not interested in leaving us to our own devices. God has another way, a divine way, that challenges the human heart and mind to wake up to what God is trying to do in our midst.
An intriguing commonality between those who follow the Jesus way and non believers is a general distaste for evangelism. Certainly this dislike doesn’t apply to everyone, believer or not; nor does it stem from an accurate understanding of what evangelism is all about. But the dislike is there…The negative image of the televangelist looms large in all our consciences.
The first verse of “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” is an invitation to join the angels who announced Christ’s birth. In fact, Wesley wants all nations to rise and “join the triumph of the skies” in the tumultuous news, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Notice the exclamation point. Wesley was inclined that way. It’s hard to end all your sentences with periods when your soul is on the rise.
There aren’t many times in the life of the church where people sit down and say, “Please teach me doctrine.” As a theology nerd, I wish it would happen more. But it just doesn’t happen that much.
Advent is primarily about looking through the baby in the manger to see Christ the King coming on the clouds in glory. The problem for Methodists is that, for decades, we did not have a single hymn in the Methodist hymnal that explicitly referenced the Lord’s physical return.
When I was in 8th grade, my family lived for a bit in some low income apartments. The apartment complex was formed in a square with a decent sized courtyard in the middle. In the courtyard was where all the dramatic action was – this is where kids got in fistfights with each other, where drug deals happened after dark, and where about once a week there would be a screaming match between two random people. Sometimes it would be spouses, sometimes neighbors, sometimes just two drunk people who had nothing better to do.
Wesleyan Accent is excited to welcome Ellsworth Kalas who will be contributing regular reflections on Wesleyan hymns. His first highlights Charles Wesley’s wonderful Advent hymn, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.”
Familiarity sometimes breeds dullness. It’s true in the whole of life; it is especially true in the way we hear things and reflect on…