It Begins With Hope
1st Sunday of Advent
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
December 1, 2019
Readings: Isaiah 2: 1-5
Romans 13: 8-14
Matthew 24: 37-44
God’s character is love. In that love, there’s always a tomorrow. There’s always hope. God always fulfills His promises. Man has been so used to politicians promising us things and not fulfilling them which makes it difficult for us to have hope. But God gives us the provisions to have hope in His promises. What we need to do is to have faith in that hope.
When a trial comes, God enables us to handle the situation. He has equipped us to face whatever comes our way, and we just need to hold on to the promises of God. We should be the ones to cast away the works of darkness all around us.
In Isaiah 2:2, it says, “In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.”
The day is coming when the church will be the governing authority. All the nations will stream to the chief of the mountains. The church will rise up to be the chief. Therefore the church has to be ready to teach the people the ways of the Lord. We are His ambassadors who should be doing His work. We have to be ready for the coming of the Lord. We may not know the exact day and hour of His coming, but we may know the season.
The promises of God will be fulfilled exactly the way He said they would. No matter how dark the situation is, He will turn the darkness into light. We must walk in the light of the Lord. What God has established is the light.
Genesis 1:27 tells us that “we are created in the image and likeness of God.” God’s character is love, and so we should be creatures of love. He gave us new life by giving us His own Son – that is love. If we act in love, we will overcome.
Hope is the assurance of God’s love, not fear. We are drawn to Him because of love. We must be prepared to meet Him. The Parable of the 10 virgins teaches us the principle of preparation It talks about 5 wise virgins who made themselves ready because they had their lamps and took oil in jars with them, so that when the bridegroom came they were prepared to meet Him. The 5 foolish ones however, had their lamps but did not provide extra oil in case the light on their lamps ran out. True enough, when the bridegroom arrived, they were left out. We are to be a church who is prepared. Many times, we have allowed our growth to be hindered when we should be growing in Christ.
The challenge for us is, what Christ has done, we can also do, and even greater because we are bigger in numbers. God will not fail. He has never failed. We are to bring out the light of the Lord and be the brightness of the world, so that we can bring glory to Him, as we prepare for His coming. As we usher in the season of Advent, we are not really preparing for Christmas, per se, but we are preparing for the second coming of the Lord.
May be we awaken to the truth of His word. May we put the Lord in our lives. May we have the “glasses of the Holy Spirit” so that we may see. The day is coming when all governments will be subject to Him. We see two directions in the Eucharist; the past and the future. Christ went to the cross and forgave our sins, but It also give us a hope for the future because He has given us eternal life.
So as we begin advent, let us all have this assurance because it all begins with hope.