Scripture – Romans 13:11–14
When through the 1990s my service in Presbyterian World Mission gave me the privilege of covering our church's relations with the Christian churches in Pakistan, I often found myself in Lahore on Christ the King Sunday. There, on the main streets of the second largest city of that Islamic republic, with the rising of the sun, throngs of Christians of all denominations would hail the reign of Christ through colorful processions. Ministers, priests, bishops, and archbishops in their vestments would raise high the cross and lead the singing multitudes. Banners in Urdu strung across the broad boulevards would proclaim Christ "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, for He shall reign forever and ever."
Last week, Christ the King Sunday marked the climax of the Christian year. Today, the first Sunday in Advent, we start a new liturgical year, a new cycle that takes the church on a journey through the seasons of Christ's life. And we begin by waiting, by preparing, by readying. "Keep awake therefore," Jesus says to his followers; "Therefore you also must be ready" (Matt. 24:42, 44).
Yet we have the advantage of knowing the outcome, the anticipated fulfillment of our waiting! As Paul writes to the Romans, "the night is far gone, the day is near" (Rom. 13:12). It is time to "wake from sleep" and "put on Christ" (Rom. 13:11, 14). This means going to work and doing the work of Christ, who is building a reign of love, justice, freedom, salvation, and peace.
Lord, today we again begin marching with you in the light of your reign. Sustain us by your grace and power. Amen.
The Rev. Victor E. Makari, Ph.D., former area coordinator for the Middle East, World Mission, General Assembly Mission Council, PC(USA), Louisville, Kentucky