We have learned a lot about storms in the last several weeks and are getting ready to wrap up Gray's "Living Through the Storm" sermon series. Ironically, hurricane season is now upon us. Hurricane Isaias has already battered our neighbors in Puerto Rico and now threatens the Florida coast. We are still in the throes of the pandemic, which we are now perceiving to be more of a long-term situation than a short-term storm. And there are any number of stormy situations headlined in the news every day. We echo the psalmist and say, "Come quickly, Lord!!" We ask ourselves if all of these storms will ever end. Well, not yet! This week we are in the next to last lesson: Preparing for the Next Storm. This week's scripture is from the Gospel of Mark.
"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:32-37 NIV)
This text is often read in worship during Advent, and it reminds us that while we are preparing to remember and celebrate Christ's birth, we are also looking ahead to his second coming (more on that next week!!). Likewise, Christian and I chose this week's anthem, "E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come"--also usually sung in Advent--to help us focus on the hope that awaits us when Christ returns and the storms will end. This text is adapted from Revelation 22.
Peace be to you and grace from him who freed us from our sins,
Who loved us all and shed his blood that we might saved be.
Sing holy to our Lord, the Lord, Almighty God,
Who was and is and is to come; sing holy Lord!
Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein, rejoice on earth, ye saints below,
For Christ is coming soon!
E'en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come, and night shall be no more;
They need no light nor lamp nor sun, for Christ will be their All!
These storms we find ourselves weathering WILL come to an end. And God, our source of strength, our ever-present help in trouble, has not now nor will ever abandon us or forsake us. Through EVERY storm, he remains our mighty fortress, never-failing. And we hold on to the sure hope that at the appointed time, Christ will return (remember that "soon" is a relative term...) and Christ will be our All!