Sunday 29 November 2020

The hard core puritans hated Christmas because it was a feast. They meditated on their sins and death: we have always stumbled from one extreme to another as humans. My church does not run on a liturgical season, but uses this time for evangelism.

The spirit of this age wants me to spend money. Yesterday we did a little secret santa shopping for one of the lads, who needed help. Small town, teenage giftee. We have a ton of parties. This is a sason of over indulgence, starting about now and continuing until the year finishes on boxing day.

Then New Zealane shuts down until February.

Our society hates Advent, for it was a fast, and that stopped commerce. They would rather we did not meet and did not worship and did not help our fellow congregants and our neighbour. The state is a jealous god, but it will fail. Christ came. He lived, he died, and he rose. In his rising he reminds us that he does not fail.

COLLECT ONE

Almighty God,
Give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness,
and put upon us the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which thy Son Jesus Christ
came to visit us in great humility;
that in the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty
to judge both the quick and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who liveth and reigneth with thee
and the Holy Spirit, now and ever.

Isaiah 64:1-9

64 Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
2 [a] as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3 When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4 From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.
5 You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?[b]
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in[c] the hand of our iniquities.

8 But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9 Be not so terribly angry, O Lord,
and remember not iniquity forever.
Behold, please look, we are all your people.

The lyrics of this in English are:

In the dark night, over Bethlehem,
The clear dawn was gone, the earth covered with light.
Holy Virgin, Holy Bride,
In the den of the poor Son gave birth.
Refrain:
Sleep, Jesus, Sleep, Little,
Sleep, you, star, mine.
Your fate, my dear,
I sing to you.

Gently kissed, covered with a cloth,
She put to bed, quietly started the song:
You grow up, You, Son, You will become an adult,
In the world you will go, My baby.

Chorus: Sleep, Jesus …

The love of the Lord and the truth of God
You, in a world of faith, will bring your people,
The truth will live, the shackles of sin will break
But on Calvary, My child will die.

Refrain:
Sleep Jesus Jesus sleep little baby
Sleep, you, my star
Your fate, my dear
I sing to you

Sleep Jesus Jesus sleep little baby
Sleep, you, my pink blossom
And with hope in You
The whole world is watching!

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mark 13:24-37

24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

In this season, we look forward, not past. Though we recall the prophecies and the prelude to the birth of Christ, we look forward to the return of Christ. We are told to not panic. To pray instead, and keep on living sensibly and righteously. The nation will hate Christ and this season and in all seasons. Our leaders make sure they celebrate Eid and Diwali, but you don’t see them with Ash at the beginning of Lent.

Instead they want to regulate us.

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Yesterday we received a very special Thanksgiving gift in the form of a Supreme Court judgment killing Andrew Cuomo’s unconstitutional – nay: outright dictatorial, arbitrary, and God-hating – ban on gathering of more than a few people in churches.

Slowly, sanity is coming back, and the idea that people would not be allowed to gather in church whilst they are allowed to protest, loot, block streets and do any other sort of things which, in the estimation of Mr Cuomo, are more important than these pesky Christians going to Church – where they learn to better love Christ, and better hate Cuomo – has been demolished. Of particular note here is that it appears that Mr Cuomo appears to have “gerrymandered” the boundaries of the zones where you can and cannot do things in order to include in the prohibition as many Jews as he can. I suspect they vote Republican.

I am not, repeat not, American. I have many friends who are. I have to sit on my typing hands at times: in New Zealand we can worship and we do worship, for there is no lockdown. Seeing evil lose does warm the bleakest cockles of my Calvinist heart, but I cannot boast. My country is run by the woke — as Will S reminded me this week.

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What can we say? Be awake. Note the signs of the times. Get your family protected. Pray.

And worship God, not the multiple retailers who want you to rack up debt in your worship of Mammon.