“Come, Lord Jesus”
Acts 1:11; Revelation 22:20
“Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest.” If you have been Lutheran for any length of time, or if you spend any time with Lutherans at all, you are probably familiar with that prayer. There’s a reason why it’s called the “common” table prayer. But it is more than a table prayer, asking Jesus to “let these gifts to us be blessed.” It is the prayer on the lips of every Christian since Jesus went up into heaven, and was hidden from the disciples’ eyes. As the angels said to them at that time, “[W]hy do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11, ESV). Generally, our problem is not keeping our eyes on the sky, but buried in our day-to-day lives and on the endless people and tasks that make demands on our time. No matter how busy we are, even at this time of the year, the promise of the angels are still there: “This Jesus…will come in the same way you saw him go into heaven.”
Three times in the last chapter of Revelation, Jesus Himself tells us the same thing: “Behold, I am coming soon”; “Behold, I am coming soon”; “Surely I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20, ESV). And so we wait. And wait. And wait. That is why we have Advent before Christmas. We cannot skip Advent and jump right to Christmas, even if the stores are telling us to do exactly that, beginning the day after Halloween. Nor can we skip living the lives we have been given and jump right to the Second Coming. But, just as assuredly as Christmas comes every December 25th, you can be sure that Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16, ESV).
So here we are, in the last week of Advent, and less than a week to go before we celebrate the birth of Christ in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Tonight we are gathered here to be reminded why it is, exactly, that we continue to celebrate a day called Christ-mass; that is, the Mass of Christ. Because Jesus did not come only once a long time ago. He comes again and again here and every place where His Word and Gifts are present. And He will come finally, not as an infant in the arms of His mother, but as the King of all creation. As you hear the children speak the words of the Gospel, which is good news for you and for all people, hear Jesus’ words, “Surely, I am coming soon.” And all Christians respond with St. John, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20, ESV).
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, when you came as a tiny baby, you entered our darkness as the Light of the world; you grew up into a man and you carried our sin all the way to the cross, where you died because of what we are and what we have done; three days later, you came out of your grave and defeated sin and death forever. As we hear your words in the mouths of these children tonight, we pray that you would give all of us hope and faith to wait patiently for the day when you will come again. Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest, and remain with us until that great Day, as you have promised (Matthew 28:20). Amen.
–Pr. Timothy Winterstein, 12/19/07