The traditional Church Year is drawing to a close. This calendar year—2019—the Church New Year begins Sunday, December 1. The first season of the festival half of the Church Year is Advent, the four weeks of repentance before Christmas, when we examine our sins and unworthiness of God’s grace, come to us in the Person of Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins. After Advent comes Christmas, the 12-day festival which takes us to the Day of Epiphany (which means “sudden revelation”, always January 6). Epiphany commemorates the revealing of Jesus to the world through the visiting Magi, who came from different parts of the then-known world as they are seen as its representatives. (However, they did not see Jesus until years later and by then He was likely a toddler.) Epiphany is sometimes used to remember the baptism of our Lord—done to inaugurate His ministry and mission. Following the time after the Epiphany comes the 40-day season of Lent, remembering our Lord’s forty days of temptation in the desert. Next is the also-40-day Easter season. That is how long the resurrected Christ walked the earth. Ten days after the close of Easter, on Ascension Thursday, comes the Time after the Pentecost, with the gift of the Holy Spirit. This the non-festival Time of the Church during which we Christians engage in outreach efforts to share the good news or Gospel of Jesus Christ, with VBS, volunteering to help others, prayer canvassing, etc.
That completes a joyous year, powered by the Gospel. Such grace from our Creator which is so undeserved shakes the human sinner to the core—some to repentance. What is happening here in this nation is disturbing, for sure, but to the Christian, God’s presence is clearly seen through the reactions of some of our fellow humans. We can see a glow on the faces of those who do know God in the Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. We are also confirmed of the power of Christ through His Word by anger from some unbelievers. And sadly, some believers have given up on church because they have been abused by members who believe it’s their church and/or they are worthy but you are not. Remember that we come to church to worship Jesus Christ, and forgive any self-righteous church attendees. God has forgiven you, too. Jesus said that “many” will wrongly see themselves as worthy. (Prayerfully read Matthew 7:21-23 and 18:21-35. Forgiveness is often difficult. Please be patient because forgiveness begins with the desire to forgive.)
Christianity is for us, but not about us. We read the Holy Bible and do not ignore or modify God’s Word to placate sinful Man. The book of Ruth is often misused as an example of “women heroes of the Bible”. Ruth did not turn to Yahweh and turn against her born-into religion of Moabite false gods because she was good enough or smart. No, it was God who brought that faith to her, as well to us believers. It was her epiphany, and it was Yahweh who chose her to be the great-grandmother of King David, who was an ancestor of the flesh into which Christ was born. That flesh was beaten, crucified, and resurrected for our eternal salvation. All because He’s worthy.
Gloria Deo—Glory to God