A Letter from the General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery
Prepare Him Room
December 20, 2018
Jesus came in God’s own good time, what Paul calls “the fullness of time.” The story of Jesus’ birth underscores this by telling us that Mary’s pregnancy began with an angelic announcement rather than by a human encounter.
The Gospels portray Jesus usually showing up unbidden and unexpected. Only rarely does he make appointments. And sometimes he shows up late, or so it seems to his followers. Jesus’ appearance is always a sovereign act. He shows up on his own terms, at his own time, for his own purpose.
God sent a prophet to prepare the way for Jesus’ coming. Jesus moves freely and sovereignly, yet he comes also when bidden, even if not exactly on the bidder’s schedule. He comes where preparations for him have been made.
Jesus promises to be present wherever two or three gather in his name. Thus, Christmas worship services are not mere holiday traditions, but occasions for his appearance. Anything can happen where Jesus is present. We prepare him room by gathering with others in his name.
Jesus also shows up in the person of the stranger, the sufferer, and the forgotten. We prepare him room by getting close to people in need.
Jesus also shows up through the words of Holy Scripture, which, he says, testify of him. We prepare him room by meditating on Scripture.
Jesus promises to come again in glory, setting aright our upside-down world. Peter says that his coming may feel delayed, but what seems to us as a delay has the divine purpose of making room for more people to repent. We prepare him room by repenting from living unto ourselves, and following Jesus in laying down our lives for others.
When we have guests in our home, we prepare them room by cleaning up, cooking up a storm, putting out fresh linens, and so on. In Pittsburgh we call that “redding up” for company. What are we doing to “redd up” for Jesus?
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing!
A blessed Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
The Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister
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