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The Day of His Coming

“Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the
covenant in whom you delight, behold he is coming, says the Lord of host.
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he
appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as
a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord. Then
the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.” (Malachi 3:1-4, R.S.V.)

These words were penned by the prophet Malachi at the very end of the Old Testament era. It would be four hundred years before God would speak again. And what did God say before that long silence? He gave a promise. A promise that the Lord would suddenly come to His Temple.

We are nearing the Advent season. It begins on Sunday, November 29th. Advent is a time of preparation and self-examination in anticipation of Christmas. That spirit is expressed better nowhere else than in the prophecy of Malachi, the last Old Testament prophet before John the Baptist.

Malachi exhibited a spirit of great anticipation. God referred to “the Lord whom you seek....” The saints of the Old Testament earnestly sought the coming of the Messiah, the Christ. They prayed for and looked for the promised Redeemer. For hundreds of years their hearts cried out to God that the Savior might be revealed.

That first Christmas the long awaited One arrived. We Christians are privileged to be the ones to whom the Son of God has been manifest. We have received salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, we continue to seek Him. We seek a closer walk with the Lord. We seek a greater manifestation of His presence. We seek the completion of His will in all things, especially our own lives.

We, like Malachi, have the promise that He will come. “The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple....”

Christ came to His Temple in the days of His flesh. When He was but forty days old Mary and Joseph took the infant Christ to the temple in Jerusalem. We read of Him there at the age of twelve and numerous other times during His public ministry. The day following His Triumphal Entry He went to the Temple, His Temple, and drove out those who were polluting it.

God’s Temple is His special possession and abode. His Temple is more than a building. St. Paul spoke of Christians and the Church as God’s Temple. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” (I Cor. 6:19a) If that is the case then how should we live? The apostle went on to say, “You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (I Cor. 6:19b, 20)

Malachi asks if we are truly willing to have our Lord come. “But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?”

The Lord’s arrival will be like a refiner’s fire. The fire purges and removes impurities from metal. Are we willing to pass through the purifying blaze?

The Lord’s coming was also pictured as fullers’ soap. Fullers were the launderers of the ancient world. They used an alkaline solution to clean cloths and in the cleansing process would stomp on the cloth’s with their feet and pound them with sticks.

God’s desire for His people is to cleanse away all of the filth of sin and to purify our very being. The means to that end are not always pleasant. When Christ comes upon us, He comes to produce holiness of heart and life. St. Paul speaking of Christ said, “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)

Advent is a time for us to do some spiritual housecleaning. We as God’s temple, both individually and as the Church, need to examine ourselves. Are there things present in our lives that pollute and corrupt God’s dwelling place? If there are practices or attitudes that have no place in God’s temple those things should be removed. As Christians our most fervent ambition should be to please our God and Savior and our heart’s desire should be the return of our Lord.

by Rev. Frank M. Levi

Parish News
The Church of St. Philip the Evangelist held it’s first service September 19, 1998. Bishop Grote preached and celebrated Holy Communion. The St. Andrew’s choir and several members of this parish were in attendance. This new congregation meets Saturday nights at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Schaumburg, Illinois. Mr. Kenneth Rick is the Missioner. Do be in prayer for St. Philip’s and for Ken in this developing ministry. Both Ken and his wife Pat are members of St. Andrew’s.

The Rt. Rev. Royal U. Grote was with us on Sunday, September 20, 1998 for his annual episcopal visit. Bishop Grote preached and celebrated Holy Communion. Following the service all enjoyed a catered lunch in the Parish Hall.

The annual Homecoming took place on Sunday, October 4, 1998. Holy Communion was followed by a luncheon in the Parish Hall. The luncheon was provided by the Woman’s Guild.

Annamarie Sellers was confirmed by Bishop Grote on September 20, 1998. Annamarie is the daughter of Frank & Loretta Sellers and granddaughter of Bishop and Mrs. Sellers.

Happy Birthday!
Nov. 3 - Bishop Franklin Sellers
Nov. 17 - Olive Denning
Nov. 19 - Doris Sellers
Nov. 21 - Bryan Reagan

Missionary of The Month

Domestic Missions
Please remember the other clergy of the Missionary Diocese: the Rev. Ken Harmen, the Rev. Milton Hood, the Rev. Richard Jones, the Rev. Dr. Lowell Saunders.

Advent begins, Sunday November 29, 1998.
During Advent there will be a basket in the Narthex for donations of non-perishable food items which will go to the Tinley Park Food Pantry. We appreciate your support of this annual effort to help those in need.

Feast of St. Andrew
Monday, November 30, 1998. Pot Luck dinner at 6:30 p.m. Evening Prayer at 7:30 p.m. The offering will go to World Relief to help feed and clothe the world’s needy. This is in support of World Relief’s annual Day of Hope.

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