Jesus says God considers His “Traffic Advisory” signs to be so important that God uses the very forces of nature to reveal them and warns, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars …”.
It certainly is not unusual to find God providing us with long-range temporal advisories in the environment He created all around us. How much more accurate weather advisory can a driver have than spring blossoms or autumn leaves or dark clouds on the horizon?
Reports from around the world of powerful storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, mudslides all come to us as God’s Traffic Advisory Signs.
On this First Sunday in Advent, such natural disasters are poignant reminders of our own vulnerability and of the finite nature of human life. Traffic Advisory Signs in nature remind us of how great a priority our faith in eternal God must be - how prepared we must be to confront all those individual storms of life which challenge our lives and relationship with God.
In the midst of our journey called life, Jesus warns, “There will be … upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity…”
The very place where our text took place continues to be one of the biggest powder kegs of all with Israelis and Palestinians in a constant state of violent confrontation and with their neighbors ever ready to pour gasoline on the smoldering embers each time the violent flares begin to die down. Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be powder kegs and countries like Iran and North Korea appear poised to develop ever more powerful weapons of mass destruction.
Within our own borders, the events of September 11, 2001 brought us face to face with a national vulnerability that was rather inconceivable on September 10, 2001. And the threat has not lessened in the seventeen years since.
Ultimately more frightening, a moral and spiritual decay is eating at the very foundation of our society - providing an even greater threat in the many evidences of confused priorities, the devaluation of human life, the preponderance of “Me First” theologies, the domination of a totally secular media — and, at the core, the most pervasive attack on Christian beliefs and morals.
Of course, Jesus warns people will be “fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world …” When nations are distressed and people are perplexed, the result is polarization, frustration, selfishness, egotism, confusion in the minds of leaders of church and state, lack of faith in our leaders and institutions, panicky behavior, violence, substance abuse.
Sounds painfully familiar! We are seeing how – without God – it all leads to unreasonable fear mingling with reasonable fear.
Jesus warns these ominous signs will continue to grow and intensify until “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
“As “one commentator remarks: ‘Distress of nations, perplexity, and fear are the things which our sins (our lack of faith, our failure to follow God in all things) bring upon our world. The end of these things is death.”
God’s Traffic Advisory Signs could not be bleaker. We know our destination and the inevitability of our own death. We know the world itself is on the path to bringing its own destruction. We just don’t know when – next year or centuries from now.
Praise God, the one constant in all the signs is God Who loves us so much – loves us enough tooffer our ultimate Hope in that final signs which reads “MERGE”.
“Advent” means “The Coming Of …” and the wonderful theme of the Advent Season is, of course, THE THREE-FOLD COMING OF CHRIST.
The Coming with which we begin our focus in Advent is that future coming when Jesus will merge with His Own people on that final Day of Judgment —the most joyous of all days for those redeemed people who have accepted His gift of eternal salvation.
Jesus describes that day. “And then they will see The Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your hands, because your redemption is drawing near.” “MERGE” with it – as God enables you to.
The paths of God and people were visibly merged in that past coming when God, , became truly one of us to live and to die with us and for us. Our redemption was assured with the merging of His life with ours the moment He was born in that Bethlehem stable and sealed with His suffering and death on the cross. “… our redemption is drawing near.” "MERGE” with it – as God enables us to.
Still, every moment of every day of our temporal lives, the paths of God and people are invisibly merged in this present coming as our Creator continues, with each breath we take, to sustain and enrich us and our lives. Our Savior continues to live out our Salvation with us through His constant loving and faithful Presence in our lives. The Holy Spirit is ever within us offering the enlightenment and empowerment for us to live in God’s Grace by Faith. “… our redemption is drawing near.” “MERGE” with it – as God enables you to.
The end of the world is certain and its destruction will be the occasion for the final visible merging of God’s path and ours. This time Jesus will not come in the human flesh and vulnerability of Christ — but in His full Divinity. This time Jesus will not come to serve and to give His life for us — but to judge and to call all who believe in Him to live eternally in His visible
Like the stop sign, our last sign has a very familiar shape and a one-word message — “YIELD”.
As we – as with all human beings – are always tempted to follow that path labeled “My Way”, God posts His “YIELD” sign – calling us to yield our lives completely to Jesus Christ. Let Jesus be truly in charge of our journey on the road of life.
The most frightening events in human history contain in them, for Christians, signs that, by the Grace of God, redemption is near. God is still in charge — and we, by the Grace of God, are still God’s beloved people.
Jesus is our Destination. Jesus is our Life. Jesus is always the Route we must take. “YIELD”to Jesus Christ and to His loving and faithful reign.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS — OUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOUR — THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE OF US ALL. AMEN.
First Sunday In Advent
December 2, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows Jr.
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio