Second Sunday of Advent
Evangelism is probably one of the most exciting undertakings in the life of a believer. Simply understood as an invitation to embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour with an inherent hope of discipleship, the primary preoccupation is often to secure that audible confession of faith. Traditionally, there has been a distinct separation of matters of salvation from “things of the world”. But in the silence of one’s thoughts, one wonders, is that right? What about the lingering sense of fatalism regarding life that makes us speak eloquently of heaven but not earth? But what of life before death? Does evangelism speak to that?
In the Luke 3:1-6 passage, it appears that one cannot see or speak of the kingdom of God without reference to what it is not. John the Baptist certainly understood it that way. His whole life – from his appearance, diet, to his speech – was a protest against the status quo. John’s understanding of evangelism suggests that the proclamation of the love, grace and mercy of God in Christ could not be separated from the condemnation of injustice and death-dealing systems that engulf people in this life. John died, not because of what he said regarding the new kingdom, but because of what he could not ignore about the present one.
The prophecy of Isaiah, regarding John, speaks of the work of evangelism in visually dramatic imagery of valleys filled in and mountain and hills levelled low; crooked roads pulled straight, and all rough ways sanded smooth. Evangelism in this manner is the recognition that the kingdom of God is real, active, powerful, present, and incompatible with current systems. Life-flourishing evangelism is rooted in love and solidarity in the affirmation of life so that all may see God’s salvation. It dispels fatalism and despair. It brings hope and visions of broken chains and liberation. It awakens the spirit of resistance in us and calls for repentance and transformation, not only of individuals, but also of systems that dominate all of creation. Evangelism stems from a profound love of the world (John 3:3).
-Fiskani Nyirenda, Council for World Mission
May the Spirit of God stir up the church to preach good news to the poor – liberty to the captives, justice to the nations, freedom for the oppressed. May the presence of the church of God anywhere signify restoration of dignity and rights for all creation. Amen.
Protestantse Kerk in Nederland
We pray for the unity and communion between Christians from different backgrounds in our villages and cities. That they will find each other in the unity of Christ and will serve and enrich each other. So they will be a blessing for the society they are part of.
We pray that the Protestant Church will be a church that exists of inclusive and safe communities. Where people who became victims of loneliness, exclusion and abuse can find comfort and meaningful relationships. We ask for forgiveness for the times our church became a place of disgrace and unsafety.
We pray for the grace we need to let go of the anxiety about the decrease of our churches. We pray for creativity and openness to join people in their search for God.
Image by PKN.