Advent 1, (November 29, 2015)
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
TITLE: “The Coming One”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Our text for this morning is taken from St. Luke chapter nineteen, our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem.
The church is always just a little bit off, isn’t it? When we are trying to be trendy, we’re usually about 20 years behind. What is new and exciting and even tempting to us as congregations has probably been done by the rest of the churches around us for years, never mind what the world things of as popular! Even our calendar is off. Today is the beginning of the church year for us. The first Sunday in Advent. Happy New Year!
What’s more, we don’t even have the sense to start the new year off in the beginning of the book! Here we go again, beginning our church year with Palm Sunday and Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. He’s coming, but His timing, well, it seems more than a little bit off.
Our Lord knew something about time, though, didn’t He? Advent means to come or maybe coming or something like that. And our Lord is always coming to us, His people. Throughout the book of Luke, indeed throughout the entire Bible, God is continually coming to His people. He is the creator. He is the one who makes things new. He is the one who sends patriarchs and prophets, priests and kings to His people to deliver His Word and Spirit. God is always coming, always leaning in toward you and I to see how He may serve us.
But while God is coming to us, revealing Himself to us and delivering Himself to us, we are running away from Him as quickly as we can. Do you remember the cry of God in the Garden to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” was His question for them. It is still a good question for you and I today. Where are you? Are you running from God, a Jonah in the making? Are you like the people of Israel, longing for the flesh-pots of Egypt, and wishing that God would leave you alone so could live your own life of desperation?
Oh make no mistake about it, friends. We are all runners. We run from our sins, we run and hide from each other. Our sins separate us, divide us, and make it so that you and I don’t even know what is good for us. We play this hide-and-seek game with God, hoping He won’t find us, yet needing Him so very desperately.
This is why Jesus is not satisfied to sit up in heaven, watching you as you flounder around like a fish out of water here on earth. Jesus is coming. As we pray in the hymn,
Then stepped forth the Lord of all
From His pure and kingly hall;
God of God, yet fully man,
His heroic course began.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming, and indeed has already come among us. He stepped forth from heaven itself and entered into our very flesh and blood through the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
God the Father was His source,
Back to God He ran His course.
Into hell His road went down,
Back then to His throne and crown.
In this topsy-turvy world of strange timing and stranger journeys, our Lord takes His trip to us. He is coming, dearly baptized. He is coming.
And His coming means change for sinners like you and me. It means that things are different, that they are, well, that they are better than we first believed possible. As we pray in the hymn:
For You are the Father’s Son
Who in flesh the vict’ry won.
By Your mighty pow’r make whole
All our ills of flesh and soul.
These ills of flesh and soul are what afflict us all. They afflict us so much so that we run and hide, like a child who is afraid of going to the doctor who can heal them. But Christ, in His mercy, slowly and surely comes, gently lifts you up upon Himself, and takes you home to be with Him forever.
In this Holy Season, do not let the things of this world, the distractions of life, and the sins which afflict us all, do not let these things pull you away from the true joy which can only come through the Shepherd-King, riding upon a donkey, who comes for you even now. We pray:
Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
In the name of our Coming King. Amen.
And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.