“Advent is a coming, not our coming to God, but his to us. We cannot come to God, he is beyond our reach; but he can come to us, for we are not beneath his mercy. Even in another life, as St. John sees it in his vision, we do not rise to God, but he descends to us, and dwells humanly among human creatures, in the glorious man, Jesus Christ. And that will be his last coming; so we shall be his people, and he everlastingly our God, our God-with-us, our Emmanuel. He will so come, but he is come already, he comes always: in our fellow-Christian (even in a child, says Christ), in his word, invisibly in our souls, more visibly in the sacrament. Opening ourselves to him, we call him in: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; O come, Emmanuel.”
“Jesus gave his body and blood to his disciples in bread and wine. Amazed at such a token, and little understanding what they did, Peter, John and the rest reached out their hands and took their master and their God. Whatever else they knew or did not know, they knew they were committed to him, body and soul; they were consenting that he should die for them, and that they, somehow, should live it out. The rooster had not crowed twice that night before Peter thrice denied, but still he knew he was committed to Christ, for Christ had given him his body and his blood. Christ’s body and blood lived in him, and Christ forgave him; there was no breaking of the sacramental tie. We are not worthy of Christ, but we are bound to Christ. With all the sincerity of our minds let us renew the bond, and pray to live for him who has died for us.”
As we approach the end of the year, I stand in awe of what the Lord has done to birth City Church. What a remarkable beginning: an extraordinary launch team of volunteers and staff, hundreds of new people who have worshiped with us, a strong spirit of service and community, and the phenomenal music that has lifted our hearts weekly to the Lord in worship. How humbling it is to witness our Savior’s astounding faithfulness. Through City Church he is bringing the beauty of Christ into brokenness.Read More
“Advent brings Christmas, judgment runs out into mercy. For the God who saves us and the God who judges us is one God. We are not, even, condemned by his severity and redeemed by his compassion; what judges us is what redeems us, the love of God. What is it that will break our hearts on judgment day? Is it not the vision, suddenly unrolled, of how he has loved the friends we have neglected, of how he has loved us, and we have not loved him in return; how, when we came (as now) before his altar, he gave us himself, and we gave him half—penitences, or resolutions too weak to commit our wills? But while love thus judges us by being what it is, the same love redeems us by effecting what it does. Love shares flesh and blood with us in this present world, that the eyes which look us through at last may find in us a better substance than our vanity.”Read More
Since ancient times, Christians in the west have recognized the four weeks before Christmas as the season of Advent. From the Latin Adventus, meaning “coming,” it refers to the coming of Jesus into the world. It is an invitation to reflect on the rich origin of Christmas when the long-anticipated Christ entered the world in the humility of a manger in Bethlehem. It also looks forward to his coming again in great glory when the Prince of Peace will usher in universal and enduring harmony.
“Our journey sets out from God in our creation, and returns to God at the final judgment. As the bird rises from the earth to fly, and must some time return to the earth from which it rose; so God sends us forth to fly, and we must fall back into the hands of God at last. But God does not wait for the failure of our flight and the expiry of our days to drop us back into his lap. He goes himself to meet us and everywhere confronts us. Where is the countenance which we must finally look in the eyes, and not be able to turn away our head? It smiles up at Mary from the cradle, it calls Peter from the nets, it looks on him with grief when he has denied his master. Our judge meets us at every step of our way, with forgiveness on his lips and succor in his hands. He offers us these things while there is yet time. Every day opportunity shortens, our scope for learning our Redeemer’s love is narrowed by twenty-four hours, and we come nearer to the end of our journey, when we shall fall into the hands of the living God and touch the heart of the devouring fire.”Read More
Jesus is full of surprises. When he was passing through Jericho one day, he stopped and invited himself over to the home of Zacchaeus, a social outcast. This audacious move was deeply offensive to many who despised the chief tax collector: “He’s gone to be the guest of a sinner,” they scoffed. But it dramatically changed Zacchaeus’ life.
All the believers were together and had everything in common... Acts 2:44. To what extent should this be true in the church today? In Romans 12, Paul says, “in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” When you belong to Jesus you belong to everyone else who belongs to Jesus. Nothing is yours to keep. All you have is yours to share.Read More