Tuesday, December 4

advent 2007

I have been singing in the choir for as long as we have been concluding our Christmas Eve service with the anthem “Congregation Arise.” Even though I know it by heart, the words seem to change and take on a different meaning when they are read rather than sung.

For a good while now, I have been feeling that we as the body of Christ – the church – need to place more importance on and become more involved in the area of social ministries. Do not misunderstand me. It is not that I think that we should place less emphasis on saving people’s souls but equal emphasis on filling up their stomachs and giving them a place to sleep.

The words at the beginning of the anthem tell us to “arise, go forth, and show forth the heavenly light.” That is, to get out of the church and into the world and become the hands and feet of Christ. There is no shortage of places we can go and things we can do to accomplish this duty – and it is our duty! Not only with joy and fanfare are we to proclaim that we are the children of God, living our lives with an abundance of his grace and mercy flowing over us, but we are shout and sing alleluia for the same.

Our joy, praise and thanksgiving to God should flow out of us and draw us like magnets to help repair some of the ills of this world. Perhaps the words of a hymn we sang recently more clearly explain my feelings. It is “The Church of Christ in Every Age” by Fred Pratt Green.

Across the world, across the street,
The victims of injustice cry
For shelter and for bread to eat,
And never live until they die.
Then let the servant church arise;
A caring Church that longs to be
A partner in Christ’s sacrifice,
And clothed in Christ’s humanity.
We have no mission but to serve
In full obedience to our Lord;
To care for all without reserve,
And spread Christ’s liberating word.

– Sarah Davis

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