In so many ways this week’s sermon is a Christmas sermon. Currently many Christians around the world are celebrating Advent, a season on the historical church calendar set aside to practice waiting and expectancy. The word advent means “coming,” and during advent we celebrate the Christ who’s come and wait for the coming Christ.
Already & Not Yet.
Have you celebrated or marked the Advent season before? What practices or ways of celebrating have you tried? What did you learn or how did you grow through those practices?
Michelle Blake wrote of Advent, “One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along ,that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home. While we wait, we have to trust, to have faith, but it is God’s grace that gives us that faith. As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true, and equally true, at once. The mind can’t grasp paradox; it is the knowledge of the soul.”
Right now, in this moment, are you feeling more like God is with us or more like God is still on the way? Why do you think that is?
Take a minute and share ways you’ve seen God work this week. Where do you see the “Already Kingdom”? After each member shares a story make a toast: “To the kingdom!”
Share one part of your life where you’re still waiting for God to arrive. Where do you see the “Not Yet Kingdom”? After each member shares, make a toast: “To waiting with hope!”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.”
Do you ever get caught up in this world and forget to wait for the coming kingdom? What causes that? Share a season in your life when you stopped waiting expectantly.
Read Col. 1:9-14
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
How/In what ways is this passage already true in your life?
How/In what ways is this passage not yet true in your life?
This week pray prayers of thanksgiving for the Already Kingdom and prayers of anticipation and request for the Not-Yet Kingdom. Be specific. You might even make two long lists: one of ways the kingdom has already come and one of ways the kingdom has yet to come.