I find it sad that we have to specifically call out a season to remind ourselves to reflect not only on Jesus but our salvation and his second coming. Do Christians really forgo doing this so often that we must collectively call out this process in order to remind Christians where their hope should be?
Pastor Tim – It’s true, Christians should be reflecting throughout the whole year, but sadly very few Christians do.
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly called the people of Israel to reflect through remembering (Joshua 4:3-7, Deut. 5:15, 24:18), and even instituted special feasts and celebrations for this very purpose (Deut. 16:3,12). This was because they were prone to walk away from the very God who rescued them from Egypt and from slavery.
The danger for the Israelites (and for us too) is actually not in the forgetting or even in a lack of reflection, but rather in a turning “everyone to his own way (Isaiah 53:6).”
This “turning” is a human condition, but we (in the West) may be even more susceptible due to the “rugged-individualism” of our church culture. You see, evangelical Christianity has done an excellent job of pointing to the fact that we are called to follow Christ as individuals, but at times done a poor job of pointing to the fact that we are called into a new community called the church.
It is within the context of this new community, that the Christian is meant to grow to fullness in Christ (Eph. 4:11-16). And if Christian growth is attempted outside of this context, then we end up with spiritually stunted or deformed Christians.
During the Month of Presentation, we give a “collective call” to the church to reflect on the second coming of Christ. This doesn’t mean that Christians can’t do this on their own throughout the course of the year (not only can they . . . they should), but rather that there’s something unique and important about doing this together.
Ultimately, if we rely only on ourselves for examination, we can come up with some faulty reflections. We either end up giving ourselves too much credit or not enough. If done with others in the church, our reflections not only become more accurate, but we even grow within the process of reflection itself as we sharpen one another (Proverbs 27:17)!
During the Month of Presentation, we try to provide our congregation with some tools that can be used to help prepare for the return of Jesus. What are some ways that your church has collectively called the congregation to reflect on their growth in Christlikeness over the past year, and prepare for Christ’s return?