Wake Up!

2019-12-01 – Year A – Advent 1 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 24:29-44

  • “It was still dark on a Friday morning [a year ago] when a California Highway Patrol officer started following a Tesla Model S…The [car] was going 70 miles per hour with a turn signal blinking, cruising past multiple exits. The officer pulled up alongside and saw the driver in a head-slumped posture. Lights and sirens failed to rouse him. The car, the officer guessed, was driving itself under the control of what Tesla calls Autopilot.”
  • The police were able to bring the car to a stop and, thankfully, no one was harmed.

Wake Up!

  • Your car may not have an autopilot mode, but I bet you have had the experience of intending to go to a particular destination, getting lost in a conversation, and taking wrong turns because of it!
  • Similarly, sometimes we move through life as if we have an autopilot for our lives.
  • We can pick up sin in our lives without even realizing it. This is what happens when we are in autopilot mode. We move passively through life, uncritically accepting patterns of speech, behaviors, and concepts from our culture.
    • Just yesterday I found myself humming a catchy tune from a secular song that was popular about 10 years ago. It is a terrible song from a Christian perspective!
  • Romans 13:11 – “The time has come for you to wake from sleep.”
  • When you wake up, you need to take stock of the extra baggage you have accumulated and shed all that is not godly.
    • This is what it means to “…cast off the works of darkness” (Romans 13:12 also quoted in the Collect for Advent 1)
      • We’ll talk more about how to do this a bit later.
    • Beyond this, putting on the “armor of light…” is putting on Christ himself and intentionally forming habits, patterns of speech, concepts, and behaviors that come from him. This is our protection against slipping back into the things we have just woken from.
      • As with Lent, Advent is a season of preparation for the feast of Christmas, and it is a great time to add some new spiritual disciplines into your life.
  • The time has come to wake from sleep BECAUSE “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11).

The Second Coming

  • What does it mean for the time to be near?
  • There is a tension between the immediate and the need to wait.
  • Matthew 24:34 “This generation will not pass away…” on the other hand, Jesus said this more than 2000 years ago and we are still waiting.
    • Two things in view. The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the second coming of Christ.
      • The timeline of “this generation” either refers to the destruction of the temple, or it more broadly refers to “this age.”
    • Either way, we know that Jesus hasn’t come yet, and right now we are waiting.
    • Perhaps an even better word is “anticipating.” Actively waiting.
  • The example of Noah. Matthew 24:38-39.
    • In this story, God told Noah exactly what was going to happen. Noah didn’t know when it would happen, but be began to make preparations. It probably took many years for him to build the ark and gather supplies.
    • Genesis 6:22-7:1
    • The floodwaters came seven days later and killed every living thing on earth except for those who were saved in the ark.
    • The same is true with the second coming of Christ.
  • We have lots of information in the Bible about what will happen when he returns, but the Bible is also very clear that no one knows when these things will happen.
  • If we are wise, we will heed Jesus’s instructions and get ready, and stay ready.
    • Matthew 24:44 “Therefore you also must be ready…”

Put on Christ

  • The beautiful thing is that we don’t have to get ready by ourselves.
    • One thing I have noticed about living through three hurricaine seasons in Florida is that we don’t just get ourselves ready, we also help others get ready.
    • In the Church, we are not preparing for a disaster, we are preparing for the most momentous event in the story of the world. We need to get ourselves ready, but we do so together, as the people of God.
  • We can spur each other on, encouaraging each other to set aside the things of our old lives of sin.
    • Paul gives a brief but hard-hitting list. Romans 13:13.
      • Notice, he says that we are to “walk properly as in the daytime.”
      • Most of us try to keep our sin concealed from others, we sin in places where others can’t see us, in our homes, and in our hearts.
      • If you wouldn’t want others to see you doing something, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it at all.
      • My Heart Christ’s Home. Robert Boyd Munger (1951).
  • In addition to having the Church surround us and encourage us, we are also not alone because Jesus is with us. Paul encourages us to “Put on Christ” (Romans 13:14).
    • We are to take on the character of Jesus, in the strength of Jesus.
    • If we put ourselves in his hands, we will indeed be ready to rejoice when he comes again.

“Now come, most worthy Lord, God’s Son, incarnate Word. Alleluia!
We follow all and heed your call to come into the banquet hall.”
(Sleepers Wake!, Philipp Nicolai, 1599)

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