It is the first Sunday in Advent. I am about to preach on this wonderous day in the Christian year. As I am, my thoughts go back to a time many years ago when I was church planting. I used to come into this borrowed chapel, Whitefield Chapel, at Bethesda Home for Boys, near Skidaway Island, Georgia, long before the congregation (whomever that might be; ah, the glories and faith needed in a church plant). This one morning I was to preach on a passage from God’s Word related to Advent. But my heart was so overwhelmed with the beauty of the day, its meaning, the golden beams of light filtering through ancient live oaks and through the thick glass of those quaint gothic windows of the chapel, and landing on empty pews where soon men and women and children, friends know and unknown, would gather to worship the Lord who came. I sat at the grand piano, whose sounds ricochet from the old brick floor of this sanctuary to the hard edges of the (uncomfortably) beautiful pews and found some acoustic softening in the old wooden, “step-in” pulpit. As my fingers found a musical phrase, my mind was freed to think more about what was about to happen. I would have the treasured opportunity of a human being to bring the message of Jesus’ coming to a new generation of believers. I thought about His first coming. I wondered, as I looked on the Communion Table, about His Second Coming. But what struck me most at that singular instant was that He was coming again today, if not physically then through the power of His Spirit. Jesus would walk down that little aisle and into those pews and, perhaps, into the locked doors of our hearts, to reside there, or to stir us to open the door again. I began to think about his perpetual Advent. As I did, the thoughts of Advent, memories of my own sacred encounter with Jesus Christ, the joy of fellowship, His first Advent and Second, all mingled together and became attached to the simple, Americana musical phrasing that I was playing on that piano. The song “Jesus Came” was born that first Sunday in Advent.
I am thinking about that time as I go to preach today. And I am praying He will come again. Even so come Lord Jesus.Jesus came When I was down I was lost No way to be found He touched my soul And made me whole When Jesus came Jesus came Into my life His Words brought love His Words brought life I never knew What was true ‘Till Jesus came Even so Lord Jesus come Is the cry of those whose lives Have felt Your tender majesty And so we pray and so we plea Jesus come When I grow old When I see that my story’s been told Come Shepherd lead me Through death’s door To find You there forevermore Jesus come In all Your power Though we know not the day nor the hour We long to see The world set free So Jesus come
Amen. I go again to preach this Advent Sunday with a prayer that He comes again in every way until He comes again in His final way.
Jesus Came, Copyright 2011, Words and Music by Michael Anthony Milton, BMI (Bethesda Words and Music). Available through https://michaelmilton.org/music or here.