11/28/2010 -- Ramelle McCall -- The First Sunday of Advent

posted Dec 5, 2010, 1:46 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Dec 5, 2010, 1:49 PM by Terry Brady ]

Text: Romans 13:11-14

The text of Romans 13 is an interesting one because it first talks about how you have to respect people in authority, how you should not wish evil, and that you should owe no one anything and that should not commit adultery, that you should not murder, and the biggest emphasis on loving your neighbor as yourself. But on this first day of Advent, we have these specific four verses 11-14 that say “Besides this You know what time it is; for now it is the moment for you to wake from sleep” This brings me to understand that even though Paul lists those attributes earlier in the chapter, it is important for us to know on this first day of Advent that there is a level of Christian characteristics that we ought to know and ought to practice, but we can’t rely on assuming that Christ will come back later than sooner.

This passage reminds us how important it is for us to exercise good character, great attitude, and to possess virtue, and morality in our daily lives as if Christ return will be tomorrow instead of 20- 50 years in the future. Because it is telling us that “the night is far gone and that the day is near, let us then lay aside the works of darkness, and put on of the armor of light. Let us live honorably as in the day not reveling, and drunkenness, and debauchery, and jealousy.” Because these attributes that Paul talks about that happens in our days can absorbs us from what Christ wants us to be. Sometimes we fall into the habit of a busy day, and in that busy day tons of things are happening.

You know, like I know, that you can be stuck in traffic, dealing with people that are on your bumper, tailgating you. You can be trying to get to work, trying to get to the supermarket, trying to pick your kids up from school, and even though you are in traffic. You hope to get your destination as soon as possible, not tomorrow or three or four days from now. Then you have someone that is driving as slow as a snail, taking their time, and you’re saying to yourself “Can I please get to my destination today????” Then you’re at work, after you have awoken on the wrong side of the bed that morning. You’re all cranky, moody and not that cordial at all that day. You rub people the wrong way with your coldness and sometimes that causes conflicts, debates, arguments. Sometimes you look at life and wonder “why I do not have what others have? Why am I not as intelligent as they are? Why does my family not have what they have? Why can’t I do things like they can? That level of resentment just creeps in there. All of these things can corrupt us during the day. And what Paul is simply telling us is that we can no longer live in envy, and carry a bad attitude during the day because we represent Christ our Lord, we represent our Savior Jesus that we are awaiting for on this first day of Advent; therefore, we have to practice the right attributes that reflect the life of Christ. We must love our neighbors, as ourselves, we must respect those in authority even though we may not agree with those who are in authority. We got to learn to not have those feelings of hatred and not let them exhaust our positive energy. We got to learn to not be argumentative on issues that we should not even argue about. We can’t debate on every single thing!!!!!!

In this Sunday, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ and how we are doing this is by simply having a great attitude, practicing to love our neighbor as ourselves, so that can show others and ourselves that we can resemble the features of Christ. We have to keep this mind because this life can truly absorb us. This life can keep us in the dark instead of the light, and this life can sometimes lead us off the reservoir. So, why do we keep coming to Church, Why do we keep hearing the sermons, why we keep reading and affirming the creeds, why do we continue to lift up the Prayers of the People, because we know that it takes repetitive action for us to keep our act together and do the right things according to our faith. It is important for us to keep that in mind, but we can just do that on Sunday! We can’t just do the right things on Sunday!!!! We have to practice this every day.

Now, I must confess that I was not the best example of this two weeks ago, my friends and my momma can tell you. I was quite cranky. I was stubborn; I did not want to listen. I was moody all week. I remember one of my friends asked me “Ramelle, how are you doing??? And I told her, You know I am little cranky today. I don’t think you want to talk to me right now.” And as I thought about it later that day, I realized how I was absorbed in this negative fashion saying to myself “You know what, I am going to be cranky and if anybody that does not like it, tough.” But the problem was that I was not loving my neighbor as myself. I too was guilty of this. If Christ would have come back that week, I don’t think I would have been in good shape. I went back and apologize to my friend and said “I’m sorry, I know you were trying to check in with me but I was too wrapped up in my stuff.”

I know we will have bad days because it is inevitable. Everything will not be happy go lucky. But what is important for us to realize is that we have the task to try to love our neighbors as ourselves even if we may not always feel like doing it. We got to live this example because we are observing this urgency of time in which Christ is coming back. That the day is near to us than it was before. And that now we must put on these attributes of Christ so that we can show that we are representing the kingdom of Christ. So even in our toughest days and moments, we are going to have a good attitude. We are going to be stuck in traffic, but you know what, we are going to be patient. We might have a cranky day, but if we can recognize it and  pray before we go to our jobs, before we go to our meetings, before we intervene with people, and ask God to alleviate the moodiness and anxiety in ourselves,  it will be for own good as well as for our own brothers and sisters. Sometimes we can caught up in such negativity that it can easily deter a person who needs to talk to us from talking to us. For we must learn that we are a service to other people and that we have to love our neighbors as ourselves and not just when we feel like it. So I encourage us all today that as we approach this first day of the season of the coming of Christ, let us treat it as such, because “The day is near and the night has far gone.” We know what time it is, and it is time for us to practice what we know. Let us alleviate these desires of quarrelling and resentment so that we can represent the kingdom of Christ not just for ourselves but others to see and to embrace. You never know how your life, your smile, can truly help and transform someone else’s life. I want us to try our best, to pray about this and to know what we have to do. I know life gets hard. Things come at us and that is simply how life is. But you know what, as long as we stay together, we pray for one another, and show each other that we can overcome life’s trials, I think we can be ready when Christ returns.