Saturday Sermon: Staying in God's Story
The church has a way of keeping time that is different from the way most of us do. The church has a way of keeping time that keeps us in God's story of redemption. While most of us follow events on the calendar like the seasons or the school year or civil holidays, the church follows the life of Jesus.
We follow the life of Jesus from the preparation for his coming in the season of Advent. This falls in late November or the beginning of December on the calendar. Scripture readings have been selected that celebrate the prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus to the world for its salvation. The four Sundays in Advent lead us to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Then we enter the season of Christmas, celebrating the arrival of Jesus and the events of his childhood. This is a short season because we have so little in Scripture about his early life. But somewhere in early January, we move into the season of Epiphany when we marvel with the magi at the manifestation of God in human flesh.
Epiphany leads us to the season of Lent, the seven Sundays when we prepare for the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Easter.
The Easter season continues to celebrate his resurrection and the time he spent with his disciples.
"He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God," Acts 1:3 NIV. Then comes Jesus' ascension into heaven.
Following the ascension comes the season of Pentecost, the time when we recognize that the Holy Spirit, the living presence, person and power of Jesus, continues with us and in us.
Pentecost leads us to Christ the King Sunday in mid- to late-November when we celebrate the reign of Christ eternally, the fulfillment of God's story.
The reason the church follows this timeline is to remind us that God is in the story of our lives all year long. But more importantly, we are in God's story for eternity.
Jews, Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics and other faith traditions have ways, throughout the year of remembering it is God's story that we are in, ultimately and eternally. May we learn to see ourselves in God's story and God's time as we learn to live in God's reality.
The Rev. David King is the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Palacios.