Panther Springs United
Title - "I Shall
“The Warning and Promise of Advent”
tells the story of a funeral he attended when he was serving a
small congregation in rural Georgia. One of his members' relatives
died, so Willimon
and his wife attended the funeral held in an off-brand, country
Baptist church. He writes: "I had never seen anything like it. The
preacher began to preach. He shouted; he flailed his arms. 'It's
too late for Joe. He's dead. But it
ain't too late for you.
People drop dead every day. Why wait? Now is the day for decision.
Give your life to Jesus.' "
goes on to suggest that this was the worst thing he had ever seen.
He fumed and fussed at his wife Patsy, complaining that the
preacher had done the worst thing possible for a grieving family -
manipulating them with guilt and shame. Patsy agreed. But then she
said: "Of course the worst part of it all is that what he said is
each one of us lives in the shadow of the apocalypse - the dark
reality of the end of our time and the end of the world's time.
That is the warning of Advent. But there is also good news. There
is also the promise of Advent - the promise that in the darkness,
in the shadows, in the unpredictable anxiety of our unfinished
lives, God is present. God is in control, and God will come again.
With each candle we light, the shadows recede a bit, and the
promise comes closer. With each candle we light, we are
proclaiming that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness
will never overcome it. The promise is that wherever there is
darkness and dread in our lives, wherever there is darkness and
dread in the world around us, God is present to help us endure.
God is in charge, and hope is alive. And as long and as
interminable as the night seems, morning will come - in God's good
time and God's good way. (Copied.)
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