Advent 2 – Ad Te Levavi "Straighten Up"

Todd A. Peperkorn, STM

Messiah Lutheran Church
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Advent 2 (December 6, 2009)
Luke 21: 25-36
Appropinquat redemtio nostra
TITLE: “Lift Up Your Heads”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  Our text for today is the Gospel lesson just read, with focus on the words of Jesus, Lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.  Let us pray:
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L02)
If you were to ask most Christians whether they were looking forward to Jesus’ Coming again in glory to judge both the quick and the dead, I think you would find two answers, what they say and what they think.  Most Christians would say that they looked forward to the day of His Coming, and long for His Return.  But what most of us think is that we want Jesus to wait a little longer before He comes back.
Why?  We do we have such double standards when it comes to Jesus’ return?  Isn’t Jesus coming back a good thing?  It is, after all, one of the great themes of Advent.  Remember the hymn we just sang:
O Morning Star, O radiant Sun,
When will our hearts behold Your dawn?
O Sun, arise; without Your light
We grope in gloom and dark of night.
That is fine church talk, after all, but is that going to help my shopping for Christmas?  Is that going to help me get through the next four weeks without killing either myself or my family?  The fact is that the period from Thanksgiving to the end of January is the most stressful, difficult time for nearly everyone who lives in America.  The expectations are so high, that we create the perfect memory of the perfect holiday that will remain perfect in our thoughts and hearts throughout all of our years.
Life, however, has a way of messing with all of our hopes and dreams and fantasies and plans.  If you have one picture in your head of how your future is going to work out, it is pretty likely that it won’t work that way, however it is that you imagine it.  It is very easy to become disappointed that things don’t go the way you want them to go.  When we forget how transitory and fleeting this life is, the things of today can take on way more importance than they really deserve.  We can become so self-absorbed that we forget the purpose for the season in the first place!  We live today so that we may die to be with Him.  But so often we don’t think that way.  Woody Allen once said, “I’m not afraid to die.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”  Can we become so attached to the here and now that we lose what is to come?
The prophet Malachi speaks about those who become too attached to the things of today in this way:
““For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”  (Malachi 4:1 ESV)
The day of the coming of our Lord will be sudden, unexpected.  But this is the most important thing about the coming of Jesus, so listen carefully.  It will be great, it will be fantastic, far more wonderful that we could possibly imagine.  Malachi goes on to describe this last day for you and I and all of  the baptized:
“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 4:2–3 ESV)
This is you, dearly beloved.  On the Last Day you shall be like a leaping calf in the stall, so excited and joyful at His coming that you can hardly contain yourself.  Are you ready for that kind of joy?  I hope so, for it is coming, as surely as the dawn.
This is why Jesus says in our text, “. . . straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).  Jesus’ coming into our flesh and blood in Bethlehem is the beginning of the end of all things.  Because of His coming into our flesh, we can lift up our eyes as the Daughter of Zion, look, and see that He is coming for us.  Remember, rejoice, and remain in Him until that Last, Great, and awesome day.  Let us pray:
Remember, Lord, Your Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Your love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Your kingdom which You have prepared for it; for Yours is the power and the glory unto the ages. Amen. -The Didache
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith, unto life everlasting.  Amen.

Todd A. Peperkorn, STM

Messiah Lutheran Church

Kenosha, Wisconsin

Advent 2 (December 6, 2009)

Luke 21: 25-36 and here it is in audio:

Appropinquat redemtio nostra

TITLE: “Lift Up Your Heads”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  Our text for today is the Gospel lesson just read, with focus on the words of Jesus, Lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.  Let us pray:

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L02)

If you were to ask most Christians whether they were looking forward to Jesus’ Coming again in glory to judge both the quick and the dead, I think you would find two answers, what they say and what they think.  Most Christians would say that they looked forward to the day of His Coming, and long for His Return.  But what most of us think is that we want Jesus to wait a little longer before He comes back.

Why?  We do we have such double standards when it comes to Jesus’ return?  Isn’t Jesus coming back a good thing?  It is, after all, one of the great themes of Advent.  Remember the hymn we just sang:

O Morning Star, O radiant Sun,

When will our hearts behold Your dawn?

O Sun, arise; without Your light

We grope in gloom and dark of night.

That is fine church talk, after all, but is that going to help my shopping for Christmas?  Is that going to help me get through the next four weeks without killing either myself or my family?  The fact is that the period from Thanksgiving to the end of January is the most stressful, difficult time for nearly everyone who lives in America.  The expectations are so high, that we create the perfect memory of the perfect holiday that will remain perfect in our thoughts and hearts throughout all of our years.

Life, however, has a way of messing with all of our hopes and dreams and fantasies and plans.  If you have one picture in your head of how your future is going to work out, it is pretty likely that it won’t work that way, however it is that you imagine it.  It is very easy to become disappointed that things don’t go the way you want them to go.  When we forget how transitory and fleeting this life is, the things of today can take on way more importance than they really deserve.  We can become so self-absorbed that we forget the purpose for the season in the first place!  We live today so that we may die to be with Him.  But so often we don’t think that way.  Woody Allen once said, “I’m not afraid to die.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”  Can we become so attached to the here and now that we lose what is to come?

The prophet Malachi speaks about those who become too attached to the things of today in this way:

““For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”  (Malachi 4:1 ESV)

The day of the coming of our Lord will be sudden, unexpected.  But this is the most important thing about the coming of Jesus, so listen carefully.  It will be great, it will be fantastic, far more wonderful that we could possibly imagine.  Malachi goes on to describe this last day for you and I and all of  the baptized:

“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 4:2–3 ESV)

This is you, dearly beloved.  On the Last Day you shall be like a leaping calf in the stall, so excited and joyful at His coming that you can hardly contain yourself.  Are you ready for that kind of joy?  I hope so, for it is coming, as surely as the dawn.

This is why Jesus says in our text, “. . . straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).  Jesus’ coming into our flesh and blood in Bethlehem is the beginning of the end of all things.  Because of His coming into our flesh, we can lift up our eyes as the Daughter of Zion, look, and see that He is coming for us.  Remember, rejoice, and remain in Him until that Last, Great, and awesome day.  Let us pray:

Remember, Lord, Your Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Your love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Your kingdom which You have prepared for it; for Yours is the power and the glory unto the ages. Amen. -The Didache

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith, unto life everlasting.  Amen.

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