As we celebrate advent, we are praying that we would fall in love anew with God's Karis, the Greek word for grace.
You have been saved...so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:7-8
This is why Jesus was born a baby. He was born out of the love and grace of God for broken, evil sinners. He loved us and sent His son to show us grace.
Call to Repentance
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
It's important that we acknowledge, as a church and as individuals, that we have fallen out of love with God. Maybe we didn't mean for it to happen. We didn't even want it to happen. But slowly, surely, the passions of our heart and the temptations of the world have choked out our love. We have fallen in love with entertainment, with rest, with activities, with food, with things, with impressing our friends and family, with power, with money, with sex, with ourselves. And though these loves are powerful and we desire them greatly, there is an insanity of sorts to it, because we know we have not true joy. We know food fills the stomach, not the heart. Yet we try and try to get our heart to digest physical food when it is starving for spiritual food. This is sin. This is insanity. This is why Jesus died. His grace and love have covered this. He dealt with sin when He was slaughtered like a dinner lamb and separated from His father, that He might become the bread of life to all who believe.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
One of our members wrote the following poem in celebration of our Gracious God.
We have seen God. Our souls were born with a knowledge of the Holy. Of the Powerful. Of the Righteous. We saw Him, we tasted Him, and we spit Him out. We saw His character and we suppressed what we saw. We covered our ears and our eyes and screamed until our memories faded.
And then one day, we couldn't see Him. We forgot. We would hear about Him in the streets, in churches, but He seemed awful. A rotten fish.
We had developed such a taste for what is unholy, that our palettes were ruined for Holiness. His holiness now seemed a bitter herb. We preferred the seeming sweetness of sin.
We had developed such a taste for power of the natural world, that our palettes were ruined for divine power. True power tasted oppressive, vomit inducing. We preferred the empty calories of naturalism.
We had developed such a taste for unrighteousness, that our palettes were ruined for Righteousness. True righteousness tasted flat, bland. We preferred the spiciness of secret sin.
Yes, the character of God seemed a rather oppressive, lifeless, boring, waste of time. We looked upon kings and queens feasting upon a buffet of glory, and we pitied them with moldy candy in our pockets.
And then Your angel touched our lips with grace.
Your Word became like sweet honey, nourishing meat, refreshing water, fresh vegetables, satisfying bread.
We saw Your holiness, power, and righteousness now as perfection, truth, all tied together beautifully with grace and love. Your holiness took our breath away when we saw how You loved us in spite of our sin. Your power comforted us as we saw how You protected us under Your wings. Your righteousness warmed us as You covered us with Your own righteous garments.
Oh, Bread of Life, we feel the old tastes for sin coming back. Renew our tongues that we might taste Your goodness and sing Your praises.
Oh, Gracious King, come back soon so we can be done with the appetizer and feast upon the main course … Your flesh. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.
Members of the Karis band recorded this song in celebration of the Gracious One.