Advent Part Two: The Eternal Son

Advent Part Two: The Eternal Son

This is part two of a four-part blog series focusing on the season of Advent. For the next few weeks, Emmaus poets, writers and artists will share their work with us as we anticipate Christmas together.

 

Take a minute, church, and ponder the boundless beauty of Jesus.

He authored all origins. He clocked-in the entire cosmos. He permitted time to begin ticking. He has no ancestors, no roots, no source, no predecessors. He simply is, and has always been. He introduced time and space to one another. He inaugurated the entire universe. He is the founder of all foundations and beginnings – the first cause, the primary mover. No number can begin to quantify his eternality. It is impossible to wrap your mind around how long he has existed. But try to! Then sit in awe of the God-ness of your King.

This is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and God Himself.

He is the sustainer. He has always, for all time, held everything together – by His Word. He prepared and baked all laws of physics and thermodynamics and relativity, which continue to baffle the most brilliant brains in all of humanity. And He holds together the fibers of their brains while baffling them. Actually, He upholds every fiber of every object that ever existed. Just try to comprehend that last sentence. Every fiber. Every object. That ever existed. Adam and Eve’s bodies, your body, and everyone in between. Mountains, oceans, subatomic particles, and the manger he was born into. He sustains them all. Try to comprehend this, church! No wonder the heavenly beings have been singing to him for ages.

“Holy, holy, holy.” This is their song. This is the everlasting cadence of the beings of highest order. They surround Him, and cover their faces and prostrate themselves – which is the only proper response to His immeasurable glory and majesty. He is absolutely perfect. No accusation of sin can stick to Him. No ounce of imperfection has ever come from Him. He is totally pure. No sin has ever breached the barrier of His home in Heaven. He is unscathed, unstained and untouched by the ugliness of ungodliness. He has always been this way – from as long as time can remember and before.

Their song contains the correct lyrics – He is holy. Wholly holy.

This glorious, heavenly, eternal Jesus became infant Jesus. He had the opposite of a humble background. His resume, as a helpless baby, reads, “Creator of all things,” and “Sustainer of all life.” He is who made the Holy Night holy. He is the true Light. In him there is no darkness. At all. All darkness evacuates at the whisper of His name. It always has, for all time. Nothing can eclipse the radiance of His glory. Nothing. Try to wrap your brain around that thought! Darkness has never done anything but flee from Jesus. It is accustomed to it. Our Jesus – Jesus Christ, the true Light.

And this true Light, came into the world.

Whatever is beautiful, majestic, powerful, and worthy of commendation can be summed up in Jesus Christ. See this Jesus, praise this Jesus, prostrate yourself before this Jesus.

Take a minute, church, and ponder the boundless beauty and glory of Jesus.

Matt Neidig

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In this painting I was trying to capture what reminds me of Jesus’ glory. I think of it with every sunrise and how we are surrounded by his eternal glory with each new morning. I chose nature because it is something that always makes me feel close to the Lord and makes me feel overwhelmed with his glory.

Katie Stout

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Glory

There is a Man whose flesh came second, I’ve heard.
Some say He holds the stars, as if His will
Grants Orion’s bow to sing and kill.
By second, they hint mortality deferred,
The lines of now and then and soon all blurred.
That is, great Time to Him tips his tall bill,
For ages move when He undrys his quill.
Strange still, I ask His name? They say “The Word”.

Mystery, and yet, informed by all this glory!
With God, was God, is God — ‘Ere moon ‘ere sun,
His life spilt and spelt Light for man’s story;
This is the Christ, begot from Heav’n, the Son.
As He makes bright Himself, clearly I see
He comes, first born, to offer birth to me.

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*Christmas is about glory. Without an understanding of the eternal glory of Jesus Christ the Son, the manger is robbed of its poignance and power. There is no wonder in the lowly stable without the contrast of the magnificence of heaven. The magi and shepherds come to worship not just a baby, but also a glorious Son. But without God’s help, how can we comprehend the beauty of Jesus? All we see is a baby, meek and mild. We need revelation — as the shepherds heard the heavenly choir and the magi saw the heavenly star — in order to understand the weight of incarnation. God must make his glory know to us. I wanted my poem about glory to make the reader feel this need for divine revelation.

I’ve attempted to do this by telling a simple narrative with an unknown actor. The sonnet form chosen is written in iambic pentameter to bring form and structure to the poem (a symbol of the perfect nature of glory), and its two stanzas help move the narrative along by providing a distinct turn in tone. In the first stanza (called the octave, because of its eight lines), we are introduced to a anonymous inquisitor, taken aback by something he has heard. By comparing his perception of Christ to other god-like figures of Orion, and Father Time/Chronos, I illustrate how the speaker is confused at how this God-man could be both above time and above the universe itself, author of ages and God of gods. It all seems too much to be true, too much glory to synthesize down into one being.

The sestet (last six lines) changes tone from skeptical to enraptured. Suddenly the speaker’s eyes perceive that this man he has heard of is in fact the Christ, glorious beyond all compare. What happens to make this so? Well, it starts with the introduction of his name, “The Word”, in line 8. Keen readers will notice that lines 10-11 are a paraphrase of John 1:1-4. Only with the introduction of direct Scriptural language can the poem switch from rumor to revelation. The glory of the son is not just explained to our speaker, it is shown to him in the Bible. We see, then, in lines 13-14, that God is a God who reveals himself. His purpose is known only when he allows us to see. Part of the beauty of Christmas is that the glory that we have only heard of and long for becomes a glory we can glimpse. As God reveals himself in his sent Son, we are offered in Christ new life with new eyes. No longer is his glory strange and confusing, it is to be comprehended with awe and worship.

Drake Osborn

Announcements from Sunday, December 3

Announcements from Sunday, December 3

Every Sunday we share a few announcements for both Emmaus members and non-members. We feature those announcements here and at times, a few more. Read below to keep up-to-date on all things Emmaus!

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CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE

We can’t wait to celebrate Christmas with you! On Christmas Eve, we’ll be having a shortened service beginning at our normal time, 10 a.m. There will be no childcare provided that morning.

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NEEDED: SCRIPTURE READERS ON SUNDAY MORNING

As part of our regular liturgy, here at Emmaus, we have a public reading of Scripture before our pastoral prayer/sermon. If you are interested in participating in our liturgy by being our public Scripture reader from time to time, please email Pastor Sam (sam@emmauskc.com).

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CHRISTMAS BASKETS FOR REFUGEES

Wednesday, December 15 // 6-8 p.m.

Emmaus has a new opportunity to serve our refugee community this Christmas. In partnership with Refuge KC, we will be making Christmas baskets for refugee families and delivering them. Baskets will include food items, sweets and small toys. We’ll be delivering the baskets on Wednesday, December 13 from 6-8 p.m. as well as singing Christmas carols to the families! If you’re interested in helping deliver baskets, sign up HERE and meet in the parking lot behind Eleos Coffee (3401 Independence Ave., KCMO 64124) by 6 p.m. Jon Woods will lead us in singing, and lyric sheets will be provided.

For more information, contact Risa Woods at risa.tarokh@gmail.com

 

Advent Part One: Desperate Anticipation

Advent Part One: Desperate Anticipation

This is part one of a four-part blog series focusing on the season of Advent. For the next few weeks, Emmaus poets, writers and artists will share their work with us as we anticipate Christmas together.

 

Nobody likes to wait because nobody likes to feel powerless, and nothing washes away the sand-castle reign over our own lives quite like waiting. Look around a hospital waiting room. It’s filled with the family and friends of patients whose very lives often hang in the balance. The tension is palpable. The feeling of helplessness and anxiety is almost manifest. How long must they wait for the doctor to come – and when he comes, will he be a messenger of death or a messenger of life?

Believe it or not, many of the classic Christmas hymns we sing are meant to convey this sense of hopeless anticipation. Think of the words of “O Come O Come Emmanuel:”

O come, O come, Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear

This is not by accident. The Advent season should come with this feeling – anticipation, longing, waiting – because this was precisely the burden Israel bore throughout her history.

From the moment Adam flung creation into rebellion against God, humanity has been held under the thumb of sin and death. Israel in particular felt the breath-stopping constriction of sin’s bondage. As God’s chosen people, they were called to be faithful and obedient to God, and yet at every turn found themselves repeating Adam’s folly by choosing anything and everything above God. They proved themselves as an unfaithful bride lusting after idols and false religions. Their sin lead to their nation breaking in half, and foreign powers subjugating them, mirroring the condition of their own hearts.

But Israel was not without hope.

Before casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden, God gave them a promise. Someday, a descendant of Eve would do battle with that ancient serpent and would emerge victorious. God’s promise was the promise of a Messiah that would rescue humanity from the powers of sin and the devil. A serpent-crusher.

So Israel waited for their coming Messiah. As their land was torn into two separate nations, and as their sons were killed in war, and as they were shackled and taken to out of their promised land, their eyes were ever forward to a child who would be born of a virgin and called Immanuel and Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Helplessly, they longed for the ruler who was to come out of Bethlehem whose origin was from ancient times. They waited powerlessly for the righteous and gentle king to ride in on a donkey bringing salvation.

Though they didn’t know the words, from their helpless station of life-crushing anticipation,  Israel sang the point of “O Come O Come Emmanuel:” “God, please come save us!”

So Israel waited for their salvation. Years passed to decades, decades passed to centuries. Four hundred years passed between the prophet Malachi and the next time God would speak to Israel, and all that time, in hushed, fearful tones, their hearts hummed, “O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”

Until one day the joy of dawn finally broke. No longer would humanity long for salvation. God’s silence was broken by the cry of an infant king who would right all wrongs and would dive deep into creation to save his people. With hearts leaping from their chests and with eyes wet with joy, they were able to finally sing,

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come for thee, O Israel!

We begin Advent with anticipation because that is the first act of God’s redemptive story. With anticipation comes the realization that we are utterly powerless to save ourselves. We are wholly dependent on God’s promise to unshackle our chains, to lift our heads, and to bring us into fellowship with him. So with our eyes and hearts pointing ever forward to the dawning joy, let us sit feel the weight of Israel’s wait. Let us reflect on and feel the burden Israel’s anxiousness as they awaited their coming savior, because to truly appreciate the blinding glory of the incarnation, we must first sit in the hopeful bleakness of anticipation.

Jake Rainwater

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My immediate thought when hearing the theme of this first week of advent was “distant.” People far from God, longing to be brought near. I wanted to convey visual distance in the piece, and choose to set the piece in an old building, looking down long corridors. Typically, the artist tries to create pleasant movement within a piece. I wanted the opposite for my piece. I wanted to interrupt the audience. The image of the serpent (this one drawn from an old book of scientific illustrations) has long been used in Christian artwork to represent Satan, and is a clear reference to the proto-evangelium, that the coming savior will crush the head of the serpent. And lastly the eye at the top of the stair, representing God’s omniscience and sovereignty.

Brady Quarles

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Sonnet 1 – anticipation, desperation

How long must we still shout “Savior!”
Will any come near to gather up the lost?
Who will intercede for us? Is the cost
Too high? Is man too low for kings to fore-
Go the throne? How long will you ignore
The cries of your people? Have you exhaust-
Ed all of your compassion? We wait, unwashed,
Unkempt, scattered, scathed and unsure.

Yet, woe to us if we cry out for less,
Boasting hope as just a treasure to touch.
Hope is lost when she’s a prize to posses:
So find her where she cannot be clutched.
Then, what little is wasted, waiting as clay
For the Christ that will not fade away.

Allie Osborn

Announcements from Sunday, November 26

Announcements from Sunday, November 26

Every Sunday we share a few announcements for both Emmaus members and non-members. We feature those announcements here and at times, a few more. Read below to keep up-to-date on all things Emmaus!

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NEEDED: SCRIPTURE READERS ON SUNDAY MORNING

As part of our regular liturgy, here at Emmaus, we have a public reading of Scripture before our pastoral prayer/sermon. If you are interested in participating in our liturgy by being our public Scripture reader from time to time, please email Pastor Sam (sam@emmauskc.com).
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CHRISTMAS BASKETS FOR REFUGEES

Emmaus has a new opportunity to serve our refugee community this Christmas. In partnership with Refuge KC, we will be making Christmas baskets for refugee families and delivering them. Baskets will include food items, sweets and small toys.

Please complete this survey before Thursday, November 30 to let us know if you are interested, and you’ll be matched with a family!

For more information, contact Risa Woods at risa.tarokh@gmail.com

 

Sunday, November 12 Ordination

Sunday, November 12 Ordination

On Sunday we ordained five men. These five men weren’t installed as pastors of Emmaus, but were ordained by our pastors confirming they have seen their qualifications and aspiration to eldership in their lives, and that they have the confidence these five men are qualified and able to serve as pastors in a church.

Pastors shepherd the flock, humbly exercise oversight and lead in confession, repentance, gentleness, patience and faithfulness to Christ. Our Pastoral Training program is designed to train men up to do just that. But Emmaus elders are not the only ones who have trained these five men toward pastoral ministry. They have learned so much by singing, confessing, serving, mourning, rejoicing and communing with Emmaus members. Emmaus, YOU have helped train these men, and we celebrate their aspiration to pastoral ministry by affirming them through ordination.

Congratulations to Glen Higgins, Colton Strother, Michael Kinion, Chad Hensley and Jason Westman!

Watch Sunday’s sermon and ordination here.

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