S-1347-1SIMA/C 12/05/2012 Hymns: #66 #457; #58 vv. 1-3
Texts: Deuteronomy 34:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:4--13; Mark 13:32-33
Theme: “On Your Toes” (Mark 13:33)
Question: “Have you ever tried to see a parade but couldn’t?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our First Midweek in Advent is from Mark “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33).
O most holy people of God, as we begin our Midweek in Advent we are exhorted to be on our toes in anticipation of Christ’s Second coming. Perhaps, this has happened to you. You are standing on a street watching a parade. But standing in front of you is someone who is taller and you can’t see. You move to the left and to the right but to no avail, so you begin to stand on your toes trying to get a glimpse of what is approaching.
That is precisely what Jesus is teaching us in the text this evening. He wants us to be on our toes so that we may see His return which He taught and told us to be aware of. The promise that Jesus will one day return is one of the greatest sources of joy and hope for us as Christians but it is also sometimes a bit frustrating as well. It is frustrating in the fact that we are still waiting and we are still watching for Him to come. And boy, we sure don’t like to wait.
You and I know that fact extremely well. We want things done right away. We live on instant potatoes, instant soup, and instant pudding and microwave meals. If you have a headache, can’t sleep, or are overweight then do the easy thing, pop a pill and get instant results. We have a difficulty and people say, “Pull up your bootstraps and do it yourself.” This is just part of our nature. And that nature spills over into our life with Jesus too.
To be sure, this is a challenge for every son of Adam and daughter of Eve. We want things done NOW (raise your voice). But Jesus teaches us saying: “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” It is absolutely important for us as the children of the heavenly Father to hear and heed the Words of Jesus, because they bring life and salvation.
“Be faithful”: If Jesus doesn’t know when that Day will be or that hour will come, what does that say about all those false prophets out there claiming that they do? They are simply spewing wind. But we know that Faith is the essence of what we hope for and the evidence of what we cannot see. We are called to live out the faith planted in our hearts by the working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has never broken a promise to you. He is not going to start when it comes to His return.
“Be diligent”: He furthered stated. Diligence is needed because Jesus will come unexpectedly. We are called by our Savior to be ready at any time for Him to take us home. We live each and every day like Jesus is coming back today. There are no guarantees that any of us will have a tomorrow.
He adds, “Be watchful”: Here where our toes come in. Because of the Return of Christ, we are called to be on our toes! We don’t need to be reminded that the day of salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. But what we are on our toes to watch is not the signs and seasons. No we are called to watch our lives in the light of God’s Holy Word. When our ears are filled with this sound and our mouths with the feast that is the Holy Supper, then we are truly watchful for the sin that would entangle us and distract us and lead us to be caught unaware at Christ’s return.
But oh, the challenge of waiting! It is so hard to stay on your toes at all times. You need to practice being on your toes. It is like a ballerina dancing on her toes. First, she doesn’t dance with her bare feet. She puts on a special dance shoes that make her legs stronger and steadier. And the more she dances the stronger those toes become so that she can twirl around for hours.
We, too, need something to strengthen our toes. It is not ballet dancing shoes, no we have something much better and grander—our baptism. In baptism the Holy Spirit moves us to be faithful, on guard and watching for Christ’s Second coming. By gathering with our brothers and sisters in the Lord’s house our toes gets stronger as we continue to look forward with great anticipation for His return. Just as our O.T. reading pointed Moses to the Land of Promise, we eagerly stand on our tippy toes waiting for He who promised to return soon—our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
We do this because we know whom we have in our corner—Christ the Friend of sinners (as our sermon hymns reminds us today “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”). Yes, He is the One who takes us by the hand and helps us to see what we can’t see. To see Him coming as an infant Child in the manger, walking the streets of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem and ultimately giving His life as He stands nailed upon the cross for our sins. It is during this Season of love we see God’s gift of LOVE being poured upon us marvelously and joyfully. He opens His heart to us to equip us to be on our tippy toes and even to see Him coming again in all His glory for the sake of His people!
For this reason then, tonight is a special evening for us to be here. We have been brought here to be faithful, to be diligent and to be watchful. In the process, by the working of the Holy Spirit we are strengthened so that we may remain “on our toes.” We are not on our toes to see some marching band or float. We are not on our toes to catch some candy or see that crazy guy walking on the wheel. No we are standing on our toes because the Lord of Life is coming again. We stand on our toes because it is exciting and special knowing when He returns He will take me to be home with Him forever; because under His roof there is plenty of space available. At His table a plate is set for YOU. In His living room a wingback chair is reserved just for YOU.
Oh, the joy of standing on our toes now and always. Blessed Advent to you in the name of Christ who came and is coming soon. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA