Church of the Brethren
Annual Conference 2018 logo: Living Parables
Church of the Brethren
Annual Conference

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The season of Advent is the beginning of the church calendar year. It is a time of spiritual reflection, preparation, anticipation, and hope. The focus of the entire celebration is the birth of Jesus Christ who showed up a little over 2000 years ago for the First Advent, and today our anticipation is of the return of Christ in his Second Advent. For me Advent is much more than simply remembering and celebrating this 2,000-year-old event in history. But a celebrating the truth about God, in Christ, the revelation of God in Christ where all of creation would be reconciled to God.

This season of celebration is a time that people often get together, many sends out invitation while others are invited. What then should our response be as we think about the theme "Living Parable"? I think Jesus' pep talk here in this parable can serve as a guide.

For me, I continue to discovered a far more effective way of reconnecting myself to the Advents story, by using a principle that Jesus taught. I call it the parable principle. We all know that Jesus taught his disciples and all those who followed him about the kingdom of God, but we sometimes forget that no one except Christ himself had ever seen that kingdom. And for that reason, the kingdom was a kind of a very distant concept for those disciples, if not an entirely confusing one. To address the concerns, the glary looks on their faces, or even a deer in the headlight look. Jesus described the kingdom of God using everyday examples of life, or parables that were designed to connect with their everyday experiences, like feasting, or living within or family, or finding a fortune. This allowed people to place themselves and their own experiences into the context of that parable, so that the kingdom might be more tangible and less removed than it might have been otherwise.

We too, can engage the advent season with this parable as told by Jesus, Luke 14: 7-14

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this person your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." 12 Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Some question for our Town Hall discussion on the Zoom platform!

Who do you think is viewed in higher regard in our time, the person who starts out sitting in the lower place or the person who invites that person to move higher? Why?

What has our culture taught us about this scenario?

If you were invited to a party and it was you and your best friends and then the person who was hosting the party went down to the local homeless shelter to invite them to this party as well, what would you and your friends do? Would you be willing to mingle with them? Would you hear their story? Would you feed them? Would you give them the jacket that is sitting in your trunk?

I look forward to seeing you, Thursday December 7th.

Moderator, Samuel Sarpiya is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Advent Town Hall Time: Dec 7, 2017 7:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

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Church of the Brethren Annual Conference | 1451 Dundee Ave. | Elgin, IL 60120
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