Many times, you have heard me and others comment that EVERY Sunday is a service worth attending, for you NEVER know what God is up to at any given moment, and how your life and the life of our congregation may be forever changed because of one service.
Yesterday, we celebrated a North Cross first - the baptism of a father and his infant son on the same day. What a joy to celebrate God's graciousness and goodness as a church family! Thanks be to God for the faithful witness found in the Woodrow family, as Jackie experienced the joy of being her husband's sponsor as he took the vows of baptism, and then they both joined in the celebration as their infant son, Connor, was brought into the family of God through the sacrament of baptism.
But wait - there's more! BJ and Connor's status as the newest members of the North Cross family didn't even last until the benediction, as Ron and Debbie Davis joined us by transfer from another congregation at the end of our last song.
Yes, indeed, friends, to see the house almost full, to sense the electricity in the air as the day just overflowed with goodness, starting with the gifts of God's grace found through the musical ability of our youth, who were simply at their best-ever in leading the service.
And, yet, in conversation with some of you during our Disciple I class this afternoon, I realized that there was something that I left out of the message from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8, a point that many of us must always keep in mind when considering the theme of the day, The Hope of Jesus' Second Coming. While days like yesterday are truly some of the great high points of our communal life together, for every Sunday there is another Monday coming - Mondays that can, and often are, full of the frustrations of living in a fallen world, a world where creation is not yet totally as it should be - reconciled with its Creator. The missing point is simply this:
We find hope in Jesus' second coming because we know that we live in a world that is not as God intended - a world full of heartache, pain, disease, suffering, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, frustration, death, and all other sorts of ills that we allow to keep us from experiencing the fullness of joy as God intended through Christ our Savior. We find hope in Jesus' second coming because none of this will last forever, for when Christ comes again in glory, EVERYTHING will be put back as it should be - in perfect reconciled union with the triune God that brought creation, and everything in it, to life out of nothing at all.
Yes, dear friends, that's it. We must hold on to days like yesterday, days like every Sunday where we gather with those whom God has called because we must draw on the strength found in the body of Christ to remind each other of the hope of Jesus' second coming - otherwise we will find ourselves swallowed up by the pain and despair of life in a world that is not quite yet what it will be in time eternal.
We baptize not only to celebrate the cleansing of sin from life, but also as a reminder that as those whom God has claimed through baptism have the hope found in Christ's second coming, for we look far beyond the tangible, remember the words found in Hebrews 11:1 - 'Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.'
We got a glimpse of it yesterday, as we do every Sunday when we gather around the baptismal font and the table where the Lord's Supper is prepared. May it be so now and always.
Grace and Peace, Lamar