Sermon by Kenny Foster, Senior Pastor, from Isaiah 64:1-9 & Mark 13:24-37
Our reading for the first Sunday of Advent begins with a prayer requesting the Lord to come down. But it is a prayer that began in the previous chapter asking the Lord to save them. First the prayer is “look down” Isa.63:15, now the prayer is “Come Down”. This reminds us that salvation is always the initiative of God who comes to us. We do not start the process of salvation. The truth of that statement is acknowledged in the prayer when the prophet says, “No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you…” (Isa. 64:7) However the appeal for the Lord’s coming is the truth that “we are all the work of your hand.” This acknowledges that we are created by the Lord, for the Lord.
The question is, does this prayer offered by the people of God get an answer? Yes it does. Mark 13 our New Testament reading reminds us that the Lord did come down, and he will come again. He will shake the heavens, and the stars will fall down. He will gather his people from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
To pray that the Lord would rend the heavens and come down is an appropriate prayer for the people of God to pray! This is not a prayer to escape the troubles of this world, as much as we would like that, but rather it is a prayer for the Lord to complete his purposes for the world and to fulfill his promise to his people. The issue is having our hearts aligned with the Lord’s. God’s people should pray this prayer confidently, competently and cautiously. Confidently, knowing God is our Savior and we are his people. Competently, because we know that the Lord’s coming is to save his people and judge his enemies. Cautiously, since we do not know when the Lord will come down again. So we stay awake!
It is a fair question to ask how do we stay awake? The Communion actually demonstrates for us the way to stay alert; obedient repentance and faith. To eat the Lord’s Supper these three things come together in this statement: “For as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup we remember the Lord’s death until he comes.”
So, during this season of Advent, let’s pray, “rend the heavens and come down!” Amen. Even so, “Come Lord Jesus!”