Last week here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we celebrated 'Transfiguration Sunday.” Our sermon from the day, “Faces Without Veils” can be found here.
Now we travel down the road towards towards Easter. Even though it is Lent, I want to share some thoughts from an Advent devotional, by Paul Tripp titled, “Come Let Us Adore Him.” He begins his meditations with a warning about familiarity.
“I’ve thought a lot about the danger of familiarity in our lives as the children of God. It is good to be familiar with the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It means that God has met you by grace. It means that He has opened the eyes of your heart to what, without Him, you would not see or understand.
He has drawn you close to His side. He has pulled back the curtain and shown you the deep mysteries of His redeeming plan. He has blessed you with the presence of His Spirit, who continues to illumine His truth for you. You are familiar with the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ because the love of God has been lavished on you.
But familiarity often does bad things to us. Often when we become familiar with things, we begin to take them for granted. When we are familiar with things, we tend to quit examining them. Often when we are familiar with things, we quit noticing them. When we are familiar with things, we tend not to celebrate them as we once did. Familiarity tends to rob us of our wonder.”
One of our readings for the first Sunday in Lent is Romans10:8-13. In this passage Paul speaks about the danger of being so close to something, that you actually miss it. In verse 8 he writes “The Word is near you, on your lips and in your hearts.”
As the years roll by … and particularly if we attend the same church every week... our expectations can sink. We have heard sermons like that one before. We have studied this passage in the past. The preachers voice is the same as it ever was. We sing the same old hymns. For goodness sake people even sit in the same seats year after year.!
While we resist change with every fiber of our being, the “Same old, same old” has a habit of dulling our senses. We don't pay attention as we once did. We are not as diligent in arriving on time, in attending each week, in encouraging others to join us, as we once were.
As Paul Tripp writes in his devotion, “When we are familiar with things, we quit noticing them. When we are familiar with things, we tend not to celebrate them as we once did. Familiarity tends to rob us of our wonder.”
Wake up. It's 2019. We are about to walk the Lenten Road to Easter. The gospel has lost not one iota of it's beauty or meaning. Christ Died. Christ has Risen. Christ will come again. God's love is as strong towards you as you read this, as it was the moment you first believed. Do not allow familiarity to steal your joy, rob your enthusiasm or quench your spirit. For some music, Matt Redman sings “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”
On Wednesday March 6th we begin our journey towards Easter with an Ash Wednesday Service in our Historic Hebron House. Anybody and everybody is welcome to join us. “The Word is near you, on your lips and in your hearts.” Don't miss it!
The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.