John the baptist was sent preaching “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mk 1,4)
People came, listened, were very sorry for their wrong decisions in life (they “repented their sins”), were baptised in the river Jordan and got themselves ready for the coming of the Messiah.
Have we sinned? – Silly question, of course we have! No-one is without sin. We’re made perfectly imperfect; all human.
But are we through the love of Jesus not made good again, loved, forgiven? – Of course we are!
So then, what’s the point? If we’re sinners and made good again at the same time, what’s the point in trying better? What’s the point in striving? What’s the true point of Advent, Christmas? Of any religious quest? Of our church’s existence? Ah, now we’re talking!
We’re here because He is here. Because He called us to be part of His work of Love, helping it to spread out into more hearts.
We’re here because we heard His voice, in the desert of our lives, in the lonely places of our hearts, in the desert of our congregations’ routines: “Repent your sins, and they will be forgiven!”
We’re here because we’ve seen this happening in our lives and in other people’s lives: love, hope and light growing on the compost of contrition and the vow to change; the decision to put our trust in God alone, and to submit to this adventure!
We’re here because we heard those words spoken to us: “Come, follow me!” And “I will make you fishers of people” (Mt 4;19), and so here we are, Walking the Way with Jesus today.
So, that’s the point: We’ve got a calling. We are found capable of preparing God’s way into the hearts of our communities.
So let’s prepare ourselves first before we go out to others: With our Advent Study course, with daily prayer and Bible-reading at home, with listening out to God’s voice in all this.
And in this new Church Year which begins on the first Sunday in Advent, let us devote ourselves anew to the (re)learning of five more Holy Habits: Making Disciples, Worship, Breaking Bread, Serving and Fellowship.
We are on a good and blessed journey, and we are already seeing people and places changed.
Make Way for the Lord!
Wishing you a blessed time of practice. And a Happy New Church Year!
Yours in Christ,