Good morning Faculty and Staff – OFFERING FOR THE PHILIPPINES IN CHAPEL TODAY*
Throughout this last month in chapel we have been seeking to answer the question “Why did Jesus come?” We have examined Jesus’ mission to both REVEAL GOD and to REDEEM HUMANS and today we finish our series by looking at Jesus’ desire to RESTORE THE KINGDOM.
Dr. Jeanne Porter King who is well known in both the church and the business world will be bringing this message to us. “Dr. J.” is an ordained minister and serves at Christ Community Church and also uses her teaching and leadership gifts as both an adjunct professor in the Certificate for Executive Leadership Program at McCormick Theological Seminary and serving on the Advisory Board for Urban Ministries, Inc. Dr. J. also ministers in the marketplace as the founder and principal consultant of the TransPorter Consulting Group, whose purpose is to help create purposeful, transformative and empowering workplaces. Dr. Jeanne Porter King is the author of numerous books and articles on leadership and is committed to developing and coaching leaders for the kingdom. Join us as she opens the Word of God to us this morning.
Our sermon topic for the morning blends well with the beginning of our move into the Advent season. Now I know that Advent traditionally does not begin until December but we are starting a little early because we do not want to miss out on celebrating together the season where the church joyfully remembers that God has come in the flesh, that Jesus continues to make himself known, and that he will come again in power and great glory to restore God’s Kingdom here on earth. During this season we light candles to proclaim that because of Jesus’ birth we can be confident that the light in this world is increasing and that darkness will not overcome it.
This year during the Advent season we will look to the lives of regular people who will offer us a glimpse into the tensions of Advent. As we begin I would invite you to read Luke 1:5-25 and the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of a child who would come to be known as John “the Baptist”; the prophet who would prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. This is the story of the tension these parents lived in as they waited for this promised child, the tension between doubt and hope, a tension we all know very well.
The reality of Elizabeth and Zechariah’s situation was that this couple was old and beyond childbearing years and the thought of having a child seemed impossible. So when an angel appears and gives Zechariah the good news that things are about to change, Zechariah is doubtful and says, “How can I be sure this will happen?”
As we look around at the reality of the world it is also easy for us to become discouraged by all the “impossibilities”. There is so much death, so much injustice and so much darkness, and it is natural to wonder if it is even possible for Jesus to bring enough resurrection, enough shalom and enough light to change the whole world. And so it is good for us this morning to also hear the words that were spoken by the angel to Zechariah, “It is God who is bringing us this good news”.
In fulfillment of the angels’ words, Elizabeth, who is well advanced in years and has never been able to conceive, finds herself pregnant and filled with the hope of new life living within her. The thought of being pregnant after all those years of waiting must have seemed impossible to her as well, but rather than doubt she receives the good news like a cool cup of water after a very long drought. “How kind the Lord is!” she proclaims.
In the midst of longings that have not yet been fulfilled let us remember God’s kindness to Zechariah and Elizabeth in bringing to them a long awaited child. And as we look forward to the celebration of Jesus’ birth let us be reminded that Jesus is the long awaited child that brings hope to the whole world.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, all Christian people are united around the truth that when you put on skin and came to the earth in the body of a vulnerable little infant, that you came as the hope of the world. And as those who are seeking to follow after you we ask that you would help us to bring hope to this world so that others would know the joy of a cool cup of water after a very long drought. Through the work of our lives, may people be able to proclaim, “How kind the Lord is!”
And together we look forward to the day when you return to us again and the day when all the “impossibles” becomes possible. Help us to draw strength from the truth that you are and have always been and will always be the God who brings good news. And in the midst of our doubts, like Zechariah, help us to sit silently before you. And like Zechariah, in the midst of our doubts may we find ourselves surrounded by those who can help us hope. In Jesus name. Amen.
*This morning in Chapel we will be taking a practical step in the hope of becoming good news to the world. In response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the islands of the Philippines we will be taking an offering. This offering will be placed into the care of Covenant World Relief who will distribute these funds through three missions already on the ground in the Philippines: Medical Teams International, World Relief and Jesus Evangelical Covenant Church. During this season where we celebrate the true Light coming into the world we invite you to join us as we say together, “darkness does not win.”
Grateful to be working toward the restoration of the world with you,