Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.
In a little over a week from now, my family and I will be driving out of Dubbo toward Biloela. Are we ready? No. To be honest it’s an overwhelming thing to have to leave those you love, and the work you’ve done in the garden, and the connections you’ve made in the communities, and the hurts you’ve caused and the failures you’ve made. To leave the stability you’ve found in this world, and uproot yourself, your spouse and your children and drive off to another place. It’s an overwhelming change, and yet it will be nothing in comparison to the coming of Christ. I’m packing to leave on Tuesday week, and I’m not ready. Christ might come tonight. Are you ready?
Are you ready for this world to pass away? Are you ready to die tonight? Are you ready to never sin again? Are you ready to give up all your plans for this world and rest in the everlasting work of God? If you are, act like it. Provide for those in need, those in your family, among your friends, especially among your brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve been told that, in the past people spent time to save money, yet now we want to spend money to save time; but money doesn’t fix every problem, often time with another is what is needed. This is why a pastor who visits is much more loved than one that doesn’t, yet it doesn’t have to be the pastor to come and listen, to eat a biscuit and lead another sibling in Christ to prayer. You can bring the love of our Lord to each other, you be Christ to one another, after all that is who every child of God is called to be. You are called to be Christ; to live in His life, death and resurrection, to love as He loves and serve as He serves. And that is who we will be when Jesus returns either to take you home, or to make all things right.
This is why we do not need to fear. All the things that may terrify us, pain, loss, death; those things we fear, hurt, failure, sin; all the awful things, hate, murder, the demonic; Jesus is greater than all these. For in Him all things are made right with God. Jesus is stronger than all demons; the Holy Spirit more powerful than the zeitgeist, than the spirit of the age; and of course Our Father in Heaven is far greater than any king, president or prime minister, or father on earth. So do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Do not be afraid of the future, for Jesus is coming back in glory; do not be afraid of your past failures and sins, for you have been reconciled with Our Father in Christ; do not be afraid of lacking a full time pastor, for you have the Holy Spirit the greatest and most caring companion and guide. And you have each other, the kingdom of God; distance cannot separate us who are united by God’s love, not even death can separate us from Jesus or each other. As we gather in Christ’s presence, we gather with every Christian, every saint, from the beginning of Creation to now, and with all the angels, with Michael and Gabriel, we sing and glorify the King of kings!
And yet we don’t see this treasure. We await that time when Christ finalises His victory, like servants waiting for their master to return from a feast; He won’t abandon His people, He won’t forsake His Kingdom. And so we wait, for 2000 years the Church has waited, now Phoebe joins us as we await Christ’s appearing in glory; the rest at the end of this fallen world, when He comes, our treasure, God’s love, joy, peace and life everlasting with all our brothers and sisters in Christ; the destruction of sin, death and the devil. What a wonderful gift to Phoebe and to all of you, Christ Himself, His eternal life, His victory. And today a foretaste of this treasure, a family right here! We might not see all the heavenly hosts, or all the saints from across the world and who have fallen asleep in Christ; but I see you and you see me.
Thank you for your love and for showing me Christ, and God continue to bless you through His Word through His sacraments and through each other. This is how we prepare for the life to come, to live in Christ now, to live in His Words and live in His authority, to live in love and trust with other Christians and for the benefit of all people and all Creation. This is the way of life the Son of Man will bring when He appears in glory, are you ready for it?
As you await our Lord, the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now into the everlasting life. Amen.