How do we get ready for important happenings in our lives? How do we prepare our homes, our family and friends, our whole environment for important changes we know are imminent?
Think about all the milestones you’ve had in your lives. How much time was spent preparing for them, and preparing to celebrate them? And not just time, but how much money was used in the preparation?
And when the big day came did we find that all the preparation was worth it? What about the day after? How long did the excitement, the euphoria, last?
This morning we lit a candle for Advent signifying “preparation,” preparation for what? Do we know what we are preparing for?
Isaiah, Peter, and Mark each talks about being prepared. Isaiah and Mark actually uses the word prepare and Peter asks the question, “…what kind of people ought you to be?” Each of them said that the coming of the Messiah was important. Each of them stressed that changes needed to take place. Action needed to be taken.
So, what about now? What about the world and us? Have we prepared ourselves for the coming of the Messiah? Have we taken to heart the words Peter, Isaiah, and Mark wrote?
Not only about how we should be living but that the Messiah’s return is imminent. He could arrive this very minute.
If Jesus came this very minute would our response be, “Come, Lord Jesus, come. We’ve been anxiously waiting for you.” Or, would we more likely say, “Oh dear! I’m not ready yet! There’s some work I haven’t done yet! Can you wait a minute?”
Friends, we’ve heard these words before. In fact we’ve heard these same words every year during Advent. And we would still say, “Wait a minute! I’m not quite ready yet.” Really, that’s our response?
Way back before Jesus’ arrival John began exhorting the people to repent. He began doing something different in that the baptism he offered wasn’t just for those who were converts to Judaism. No, the baptism he offered was for those who were ready to repent, prepared to change; prepared to make their lives ready for the coming of the Messiah.
John’s, and Isaiah’s and Malachi’s, message is still being proclaimed across all the centuries, “Prepare for the Lord!” Do we have ears to hear? Are all our preparations done? Or, aren’t we quite ready yet?
What in the world are we waiting for? Listen to Peter’s message again, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this (are we?), make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation…”
It can’t be any clearer. Jesus is going to break into the world again. Everything we hold dear today, all of this stuff, is going to disappear. There will be a new heaven and a new earth, a new Jerusalem. And all of this stuff will be gone. All that will matter then is that we’ve made every effort to get right with the Lord. All that will matter then is that we’ve done all we can to be prepared.
Friends, God sent his Son, Jesus, to us, so we could be saved. All he asks is that we pay attention to his Message and get our hearts and lives right with Him now.
God is extremely patient but someday Jesus will return and only those who have prepared for his coming will go home. Are we ready?
Friends, God loves us and is just waiting to anoint us with his forgiving grace. Let’s get ready today! Thanks be to God. Amen.