Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.Isaiah 2.3
Here on planet earth there are great mountain ranges... the Himalayas, the Andes, the Rockies... Out in Phoenix AZ, on the east end of the valley stands a less known range, the Superstitions; immense and great, a wall of rock rising out of the desert floor. The Superstitions are a sight! At the center stands one particularly striking point; a massive monolith, a
ship of rock protruding from the range. Some have even called it Ship Rock. Its real name however is Flat Iron. It not only looks like an iron, it is very flat on top. This I know because I've been there. 3200 feet frombottom to top, what a climb, extremely challenging, but well worth the effort! And in climbing the Flat Iron I learned what many have said, that the most exciting time is the last few feet to the summit.
Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD! When Isaiah wrote these words he had a particular mountain in mind; the place where the temple stood in Jerusalem. It was indeed a city on a hill, @3200 feet from the valley below. Virtually from any direction, if one was visiting the temple, they went up.
During the past eleven months we've been climbing the year 2020. Now that the calendar says December, now that we've entered Advent, we stand before the final push to the top. Question is Are you up to Christmas? Pastor Charles Moore writes,
The essence of Advent is expectancy, readiness for action, watchfulness for every opening, and willingness to risk everything for the sake of (the gospel). For many the usual mode of preparation for Christmas includes things like watching for sales. This is good. There is however a far greater thrill as we near the top. That's the thrill that comes when we 'watch' near God's altar with His true body and blood in the Sacrament. What a gift of God! It is given for us to receive in most personal and precious fashion, our Lord's greatest gift! Here more than any we can be expectant and ready for action, looking beyond to the feast already being prepared by Christ. A feast so great, planned for from the foundation of the world, the prelude music already begun with the songs of angels and heavenly hosts.
Gloria in Excelsis! and
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. For now, December is still on the calendar. And while still in 2020, our Lord invites us to prepare with expectancy and readiness for action and watchfulness and willingness.
The Psalmist writes,
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. If one day you think to climb a mountain, you may well come to a crossroads along the way. At a crossroads the wise climber pauses to check his progress and gear, and if need be, lighten his load. Advent brings you to a crossroads, a good point to check spiritual progress. It's what the Apostle Paul had in mind,
Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the sinful nature. Romans 13.14 Fact... we all need to lighten our load. Lighten your load by repenting of the unnecessary things including sin, fear, doubt, fear, resentment, fear, guilt, fear, and even tradition... if tradition keeps you from being clothed with the living, loving and forgiving Christ.
Are you up to Christmas? More importantly, are you up to Christ coming again? One will happen first you know. But which one, we don't know. Either way, we do know how to get up and to be ready.
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths. In His parables Jesus made clear that when the Son of Man returns, He will expect to find His servants at His house and about His business. Christians - Don't miss that one. And to that end join with me in praying,
O Come, O Come, Immanuel.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.
These past months, it's a verse many have taken to heart and in prayer. It speaks to people, young and old, who find themselves wondering, praying, and asking God,
Why?' Why are you letting all this bad stuff continue? These words from St. Peter help answer our
why' questions. Much in our lives brings anguish, fear, and even feelings of helplessness to our hearts. And that's just in normal times. But this year is very much not like
normal times'. This year has been brutal. Anguish, fear, helplessness, loneliness, isolation, loneliness and fear, separation from those you most need... we could go on.
This past week I was blessed to make pastor' calls on 6 of our members at Heritage. In making those calls I found myself kneeling on the ground outside their windows. With phone in hand (thank you God for phones) we shared, and prayed and sometimes cried. But that's not all. We sometimes laughed. Even more, we rejoiced. We rejoice, in bad times as in good times, because of Jesus. In our Savior we can be sure God will keep His promise to lift us up. We rejoice in bad times as well as good, confident in this, that God works in all things for our good. Cast all your anxieties on Him, He cares for you.
~ Pastor Kelly G. Mitteis
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