It's Getting Earlier Every Year...
In the race to be the first to herald the coming of Christmas, normally it is Marks and Spencer's band of B-List celebrities* who cross the finish line first, followed closely by a Coca-Cola lorry which has been on the go longer than the Holywood maypole. But this year one contender beat them all. On Sunday morning we were treated to the commencement of our Christmas sermon series by Alistair, our pastor.
We are looking at six 'Seasonal Songs' over the coming weeks. Each one is found in the pages of the Bible, so, yes, that rules out most of the Christmas songs we know, including 'Merry Christmas Everybody', 'Stop the Calvary' and, even though Sir Cliff sang, it 'Christmas Time' doesn't count either.
Thankfully the song that we looked at on Sunday was much less annoying than any of these. Found in Revelation 5:9-10 it reads (or sings):
Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood
you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom
and priests to our God
and they shall reign on the earth.
The line that stuck out for me the most is that the people whom God is ransoming are from every tribe and language and people and nation. The vision John has is of a multi-coloured, multi-cultural church from all parts of the globe. Salvation is for all people because it belongs to God and God isn't biased by race or nationality.
This should hit us like a frozen snowball for two reasons:
1. Remember that missions is global. All people means all people. God is ransoming people even from backwaters around Armagh. His mission is a big one. John Piper says there are 3 different types of attitude among Christians when it comes to mission work; people who go, people who send and people who are disobedient. Are we thinking and praying big? Are we involved in going or sending?
## Shameless Plug Alert ##
If you classify yourself as reasonably young and want to think more about missions then come along to our Seniour Youth Connect Night, Sunday 25th 8.15pm in the youth room.
2. Missions is local. All people means all people. That includes the people next door. Around our church there are young people and older people growing up and living lives without hearing who Jesus really is and what He really did. Let's be a part of the mission to tell them.
So Christmas has come extra early to Holywood, let's not miss out on the opportunity to meditate on these wonderful songs throughout the Bible over the next few weeks. It's much better than listening to Cliff anyway.
*In case you're questioning about the B-List claim, it was the X-Factor contestants who featured last year. I rest my case.