Good morning and welcome to this celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday, November 15. We’re delighted you’re here!
Our services will begin at 9:30am and 11:15am. Pray along with us here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/18vmCwQobr0-pAJ5i0aCkxagj6khzVScY/view
Find our 11:15am service here: http://www.facebook.com/stjohnscraighurst
“After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.”
It’s hard to believe that Advent begins in just two weeks but here we are. In fact, we might even call this Sunday and the next pre-Advent as our readings begin to prime the pump. Many of us will know that Advent is a time of anticipation and expectation and thus of preparation. We are looking ahead to Christmastime; stocking the freezer, buying the gifts, trimming the tree, and singing the carols. And it all culminates with the birth of our blessed Lord, the Son of God become the Son of Man, God with us in the flesh of this newborn babe.
That’s all true, of course, but there is another coming that Advent directs us to and that is reflected in our readings this morning. It is that great and fearful day that Saint Matthew elsewhere calls the “coming of the Son of Man,” (24:39) and that we confess in the Creed each week saying, “And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead.” That is, Advent orients us not only towards the coming of our Lord as a babe in a manger but the coming again of our Lord as king and judge.
And this morning Jesus is reminding us of the certainty of that day so that we won’t be caught off guard. For example, a week or so ago we had some beautiful 20+ degree weather…in November. And yes some of us may have squeezed in one final round of golf but no self-respecting Canadian looked at that weather, kicked their feet up, and thought to themselves, “you know, maybe winter is going to skip us this year.” No, winter is coming and we know it so despite the warm weather we made our preparations: we got the backyard tidied, the garage organised, the leaves raked, and the snow tires on. Those warm days weren’t going to catch us off guard, we’re Canadians. We know what’s coming. So we make preparations and act accordingly.
Well, both Paul and Jesus are saying something like that this morning. Says Paul, “you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” This will come as no surprise to you, he says. Jesus has already awoken you to the reality of his return, so live accordingly. Stay awake and alert, don’t drift off to sleep like those who are expecting not the day of the Lord. We’re Christians. We know what’s coming. So we make preparations and act accordingly.
Jesus says much the same thing but in the form of a parable. A certain man summoned his servants and entrusted them with a vast amount of his wealth. Then he went away until, after a long time, he returned to settle accounts. What have they done with the treasure entrusted to them? Have they hid it away and kept it to themselves or have they taken a risk and seen it multiply?
Christians are those ordinary people that God has summoned and entrusted with a pearl of great price, the greatest and most valuable treasure in the world, a priceless treasure in fact; the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, crucified, risen, and now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Sin has been forgiven, death has been defeated, and when we trust Jesus we are set free from their chains and made children of God.
The gospel is God’s treasure entrusted to the church but for the sake of the world. It’s good news for the world and it has the power to transform the world, and it will. That’s why we must not keep it to ourselves. We can’t afford to be risk-averse with the treasure of the gospel. No, Jesus is inviting us to take a risk. Don’t bury it in the ground or hide it in a box, take it out and show it off and spread it around. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine!
Beloved, here’s the point: knowing, as we do, that our Lord is coming, now is the time. Now is the time to suit-up with faith and love as your breastplate and the hope of salvation for a helmet. Now is the time to go to work for the gospel. Or rather, now is the time to allow the gospel to go to work in you and in your family and in your neighbourhood. It’s the nature of the gospel to reproduce and grow. All we have to do is let it loose. That’s what we’re responsible for: taking the risk of letting the gospel loose. So that when Jesus returns to settle accounts, like the master in the parable, we will hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful.”