Sunday Next before Advent Nov 25 2018 Fr. Michael Cawthon:
“Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people”
On this last Sunday of the church year, prior to the beginning of the Advent (meaning the coming); let us review:
We began the last church year by preparing for Christ’s coming and we celebrated The Incarnation – the birth of our Lord Jesus…
and then we witnessed of the giving of His name at his circumcision (as foretold and instructed by the Angel Gabriel)…
We observed His showing forth – unto the world, during the Epiphany Season,
then we struggled and suffered with him during the Lenten Season
and even ate with Him during the institution of the Holy Eucharist on Maundy Thurday,
and we were helpless the next day to do anything to save Him as He was hung upon the cross…
But then we rose with Him on that glorious Easter Morning, as the tomb was found empty.
We celebrated His sending of the Holy Spirit on Whit-Sun-day at the feast of Pentecost (the Birthday of the Church.)
And finally, we entered into the Season of Trinity
in which we were concerned for the practical life of those / who believe in Christ and / accept His teaching.
And throughout the year, almost weekly we acknowledged and celebrated His Saints.
And now / at the end of that / we are told to be “Stirred Up” / when most of us simply want rest.
You see, each year we walk the life of our Lord and grow in our love for him through the sanctification of our spirits
as we learn His will for our lives.
In the Epistle this morning we read the beautiful words of:
“being raised a righteous branch”
and are reminded that
“The Lord Liveth.”
And then in the Gospel we hear of His feeding of the multitudes.
My brethren what a great God we have:
This is the same God:
the one who told Abram to “Get thee out of thy country” and who spoke to Moses via the burning bush;
it is He also, who gave us His Church and who blesses and nourishes us, still today, with His Holy Sacraments,
and this is done for our sanctification / simply because of His greatness and His love for each of us:
He has given all, everything, so that we might be “Stirred Up” and He continues till this day to sustain us.
He opened and reveals His Word / unto us / by sending the Only Begotten Son,
and He continues to “Stir us up” through the work of the Holy Ghost.
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus physically feeds the multitudes via a miracle
and in a few minutes, it is the same God who will feed us / with His Body and Blood;
not just memorially, but physically and spiritually; for His presence is truly “REAL”, and our souls truly need to be fed and cleansed;
and if we worthily receive, we will become one with Him and He in us,
as we come together in unity with one another.
In today’s world of depression and anxiety,
the importance for us, especially our children, is to understand that we are never alone.
Christ is always here for each of you.
It is His grace / that invites us / into His arms.
Christ is the antidote to loneliness,
depression and frustration,
and it is within His Church that these conditions are lessoned and even overcome.
By accepting God’s Love, we start a process which softens and warms our hearts,
preparing the ground upon which His seed, His Word, can take root.
As we accept God, the Creator of all, within our hearts / the things of his creation / become less influential as they lose their power.
It is through Christ that God is revealed to us and it is within Christ that we can gain victory over the things of Satan and sin.
This is the peace for which we all yearn:
Jesus Christ is the Hope of Glory!
The Advent Season…
is a time of reflection as we attempt to establish within our hearts the priority and importance
of all things which are worthy of our yearning and our seeking.
discover your core desires
for your spiritual life,
and then establish the time and places / for the nurturing of those desires.
It is time for each of us to establish priorities for “His coming.”
Unfortunately, some will establish basic desires and then not support them by their own decisions
and this will lead to frustration and the tempting a disavowal of our heart-felt goals.
This situation sets up the conflict within our own soul, as the body and spirit war with one another.
This world tempts us with “stuff and things” which can fill and dominate our lives,
thus drowning out our ability to be with God;
simply because, we are too busy.
And my friends, the month of December is now tailored to do just that.
The month in which we celebrate the coming Incarnation of God has turned into a time of being full of everything, except God.
December has turned into a month in which the world fights God for your time, wealth; thus, your soul.
Thus, it important; now, to have
a time of discernment
about your relationship with God…
to examine the depth of your own faith
and to determine how to use the Advent Season
to deepen your love and relationship with Jesus Christ.
I encourage each and every one of you to use this time of preparation wisely in preparing for the first and second coming of Christ.
As the Church begins to prepare for the coming of God and becoming one with His creation, as God and Man united;
let us also prepare for His second coming.
Use His Church and His Sacraments to bring you closer to Him.
Feel His warmth,
hear His Word,
See His Glory…
It is all here for you within the walls of St. Michael’s,
but Jesus warns us that often The Spirit may be truly ready,
but the flesh can be weak.
As Jesus asked: Simon…? “Couldest not thou watch for one hour?”
So I ask each of you this morning: Can we not take an hour each day to be with Him in service and prayer?
May this Advent Season be one of spiritual growth for you and your family!
I look forward to seeing you often before His Altar.
Feed upon Him often
and praise His name continuously;
Yes Alpha, Yes Omega, Yes indeed, come Lord Jesus.
The hour cometh and now is….