Worship Companion – December 6 2020

It’s Advent!
We took the week off last week, but I hope you’re ready to dive into week two of Advent together! First, it’s also good to be on the same page about what we’re doing in Advent – what is this season about any way?
The general idea is that Advent is all about the “COMING” of God. People had a lot of different expectations of what that would look like 2000 years ago when God came to Earth, and no one predicted it happening quite like it did. 

The Last Judgement – Jean Cousin

Traditionally, Advent’s first two weeks are actually focused more on the future coming of Christ to judge all creation, finally and definitively claiming the universe as his own and expelling the devil, his angels, and all who are allied with them (rebellious human beings) into the outer darkness of eternal judgement, what John calls in Revelation, the Lake of Fire. The world as we know it will be renewed – overhauled to restore it to the good and undefiled state which God always intended it to be in, and there (here) we will reign forever with Christ – we shall finally be his people, and he shall be our God, over all, and through all, and in all (Rev 19:20, Matt 25:34,41, Rev 22:5).
Jean Cousin’s painting above captures some of the terrifying and earth shattering images we get from Jesus, Peter, and John the author of Revelation. The scriptures don’t actually give us a very clear picture of what that future day will look like, and trying to peg it down is likely to only end up with unnecessary in-fighting in the community of faith. What is clear in every account in the Old and New Testament is that the day will come with universal awareness, everyone will be alerted just like a trumpet blast warns the city of impending battle. It will sneak up on us, to be sure, but when Heaven approaches Earth there won’t be any mistaking it!

Solar Eclipse – 1889

The second two weeks are often a time to reflect specifically on the first coming of Jesus Christ into the world, as a helpless baby born to a teenager and her poor-but-kind husband. Humility and simplicity mark these weeks in the church calendar, when ironically most of us are run off our feet in the midst of complexity and busyness.
Anchor Texts:
This week, lets consider the return of the King to judge the evil done in his land, and to cleanse and purify his creatures and his creation.
The Theme in Art:

Saint John the Baptist Preaching to the Masses in the Wilderness” – Oil on oak panel by Pieter Brueghel the Younger

In the painting above, Brueghel brings the images to life by contemporizing the painting. Many artists have done and continue to do this to emphasize the relevance of Christ’s ministry to us today. While the events happened in the past in a different setting, they have real implications for us today – to people who dress like and think like we do.
The moment captured here is John the Baptist proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom and the preparation of the Lord’s Way. Heaven met earth 2000 years ago, and John saw what many people missed. Jesus came and John had eyes to see and ears to hear. He knew this humble and unassuming man, Jesus, was one whom John was not even worthy to untie his sandal. He was the cosmic King. While we await Jesus to come in power again, we should not forget the man John baptized in the river many years ago is the same powerful Lord and King.
The Theme for Kids:
This fun video tells us all about Jesus and his quirky but really wise cousin John. We might not look like John or live quite like him, but we should pay attention to what he says and continue to prepare the way for Jesus our Lord who has come and his coming back again!


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