Urgency. It’s such a stirring word. According to my online dictionary it’s defined as: importance requiring swift action, as in “the outbreak of the fire required a response of urgency”; an earnest and persistent quality; insistence, as in “Emilia heard the urgency in his voice.” The word urge comes from the Latin urgere "to press hard, push forward, force, drive, compel, stimulate."
From October’s last day, commemorating Reformation, to November’s first Day, commemorating All Saints, through the month of November the focus of the assigned texts is the end – the end of the church year; the end times, and the end of our earthly lives. Then the month culminates with Christ the King Sunday, celebrating the return of Jesus at the end of time.
Renewal, life and death, end times (eschatology), and worshipping the King all rolled up in the final month of the church year, leading to Advent and the beginning of a new calendar year, starting the cycle all over again. As I’ve noted before, the church calendar is a microcosm of the history of God’s interaction with the world: Advent looks for the first coming of the Messiah; Christmas ushers in Jesus’ earthly presence, his Incarnation (enfleshment); Epiphany is the time of revelation, the revealing of his person and character, “a light shining in the darkness”; Lent prepares us for the trials of Holy Week, culminating in the Three Days: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday; Easter proclaims Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and the cross; and Pentecost describes the birth of the Church and follows with its long season of mission and ministry in the world, that it may know God as Lord and Savior, through the power of the Holy Spirit working in each and every believer; returning us once again to the celebration of Christ the King at the end of all time at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
So where is the urgency? What’s so important that it requires us to get worked up about mission and ministry? You see, the problem with the church is often that we don’t believe or know or understand, or simply choose to ignore, Jesus’ own words about how important it is that the world come to know him and his saving work. The fact is, Jesus didn’t offer a selection of ways to get to that Wedding Feast. It’s not a “choose your own adventure” kind of thing. He didn’t say, “Work it out for yourself by being perfect like your heavenly Father is perfect.” He didn’t say, “There are many paths to Heaven, so pick the one that works best for you.” He didn’t say, “God is love, so fear not, everyone gets in!” He says, “No one comes to the Father except by me.” I’m not trying to be arrogant about this.
I’m trying to be urgent! We are surrounded by people who don’t know the desperate situation they are in. Romans says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and “The wages of sin is death,” and “None are perfect, no not one.” All humankind needs a Savior, and Jesus is that one. He is the Light of the world, the Prince of Peace, the Way, the Truth and the Life. And he offers salvation freely to all, but it’s on his terms, not ours. And frankly, the alternative is something to be urgent about. The loss column is huge without the church doing its part.
And that is precisely what we are doing right now. We might be sullen about Covid and its social distancing shutting us down, but I’m beginning to look at it in an altogether different way. This is a time of preparation, a time we can move into our own discipleship, to be focused and disciplined as God provides the momentum in preparation for renewal and revival that is to come. God is giving us time to “come away” and learn more about him and his work for which he has uniquely designed us. So now we can apply ourselves to growth without other distractions. This is the time that we can understand and begin to pray with urgency for lost people. So then let’s take the opportunity together to become disciples who make disciples who can make disciples! All for Jesus.
Power to you! Pastor Pat
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