We miss our friends and family in Oklahoma dearly; we especially miss Sunday mornings spent listening to our good friend, Rev. Jon Middendorf, preach at OKC First Church of the Nazarene.
With that in mind...what follows are excerpts that form a brief (and possibly mangled) summary of one of the last Advent sermons we got to hear him preach before leaving town. We hope you get as much out of it as we did!
"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
"And you will say in that day: 'Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel." -Isaiah 12:2-6 (NRSV)
"Church is where we learn to sing in and shout at the darkness...we come together to learn the words and rehearse the steps as a community!
For Christians, Advent is not just a celebration of the Light...but also an acknowledgement of the darkness that the Light comes to penetrate!" -Jon
And then we watched this video.
"You know that not everyone was in the choir, right? There were some people there who just needed to hear (and sing) the song!
"What do we do with this darkness? We experience it. We acknowledge it. We sit with it. We ache. We cry. But after a while, when the time is right...we shake our heads, we grit our teeth, and we remember that the darkness will not ultimately overcome!
"Because people are who people are, darkness will happen. But because God is who God is, light will triumph." -Jon
And then we read Isaiah 12 again.
"You realize, right, that this passage is a post-exile Thanksgiving worship service written BEFORE the exile?! We gather here every week to remember and rehearse the fact that the final word has been written...and the Light wins!"