To the members of Faith: The church has been decorated for Advent and Christmas. Looks beautiful! This Sunday will mark the start of a new church year. ABC will be extra important the next two Sundays, as I share something called an "overture" that I have written. And the Sunday School children begin practice this Sunday for their Christmas program.
"...for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isa. 61:10).
According to the Church Calendar, this past Sunday was the last one of the year. This week is the last one of the year. And this Saturday will be the last day of the year. Most people are unaware of these things.
Jesus says, "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory" (Mark 13:26). And so we say in the Creed, "He will come to judge the living and the dead."
The last Sunday, the last week, and the last day of the Church Year are in two words a dress rehearsal for the Last Day. The end of the world. The second coming of Christ. Judgment Day.
And if a dress rehearsal, what then shall we wear?
The blood and righteousness of Jesus.
In the words of the perfect hymn:
"Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
Bold shall I stand in that great day,
Cleansed and redeemed, no debt to pay;
Fully absolved through these I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame."
In other words, by virtue of your Baptism into Christ, by virtue of His Word of forgiveness, by virtue of His blood, and body, received in the Sacrament, and the faith given to you, the Last Day goes from being one to be feared, to being one to be longed for.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Let's live each day of this week in that blessed hope.