“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and sober minded so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4: 7-8
Luke 12: 35-40
Many of us will have memories of being excited children lying awake in our beds early in the morning on Christmas day. When we were fit to burst we would inch our way into our parent’s bedroom and whisper loudly, “Are you awake yet?” This was a day of joy with treats ahead; we were eager and ready. As adults, and in different ways, we will be on the other end of this scenario and whilst we may desire a little longer in bed we know the blessing of giving and sharing in joy.
In our Luke reading today we have two different parables with two unexpected visitors. The first is the return of a master the second the arrival of a thief. In both cases watchfulness and readiness is encouraged to ensure a good outcome. The master in the first parable is Jesus. We are to be ready for his return with joy and excitement, more than we have for a Christmas day. Our challenge is that we do not know the due date just early warning signs (Matthew 24). The wonder is that on His return we will be reunited in fullness with our Lord, He will take care of His household and will even serve us (vs. 37)! His joy will be very real too as our union is complete (Revelation 19: 7). This is the culmination of what we focused on in last week’s blogs and yesterday’s service (the joys of reconciliation, forgiveness, no condemnation and life in the Spirit as children of our Father God). Jesus though issues a warning in His second parable which we will now consider.
I have attended many reports of burglaries (home invasions) where the owner had been caught out and was suffering the pains of loss and agonies of being a victim; often they were in some way negligent because they were unprepared. The ‘thief,’ in Christ’s metaphor, would steal the joy of peace with God and eternal life from us; we do not want to be caught sleeping (vs. 39).There are many things in this world and our culture that would ‘steal’ the truth of God from our hearts and distract us from our true vocations (a relationship with God). Jesus calls us to be ready for His return and to be wary of the thief so that we do not miss His joy in our lives (vs. 40). There is no time for procrastination, apathy or indifference. We do not want our ultimate joy and purpose to be stolen from us. Love is key; for our God, our neighbour and ourselves. This love will ensure that we are ready and watchful. Are you ready to encounter Jesus today in unexpected people and places, are you ready for His return? Are you awake yet?
To Ponder: This week we will focus on the topics of being ready and how we can prepare. As we consider this first reflection consider what causes you to lose your focus on the Lord; how are you sleeping (metaphorically)? What could you do in preparation for the Lord’s return?
Prayer: Father, please help us to be clear minded and alert, knowing the reality and truth of your return. As your children guide us in your love and enable us to pray, without ceasing. May we be as excited children awaiting your arrival and be bursting with joy so that we share your truth with others. In the name of your Son our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen
Praise: From the squalor of a borrowed stable (Immanuel)
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YksTeR61O1I
Come Thou long expected Jesus
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRAFQCOkjgE
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.