Sermon Details

Join the Refrain

December 11, 2022
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, IN, invites you to join us as we worship in this time of SARS-CoV-2. Today's Sunday service will be led by Pastor John Van Nuys and Liturgist Jim Howerton. Pastor John's sermon title is "Join the Refrain" . The Crawfordsville High School Choir will perform "Mary, Mary" and "Still, Still, Still" . Choir direction and Hymns led by Jennie Fights, accompanied by Alan White. Thank you for joining us remotely.
(46) Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, (47) and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (48) for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; (49) for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name. (50) God’s mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. (51) God has shown strength with his arm; God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. (52) God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; (53) God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. (54) God has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, (55) according to the promise God made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
– Luke 1:46-55

The world invites us to join the refrain. The world says to us: “Join the refrain.” This refrain is not the song of life. It’s a dirge of death. Join the refrain: Refrain from hope and give into despair – says the world; because in the end, death always wins. On top of that: Refrain from caring because nothing you do is going to change anything. Refrain from caring for others. Focus on yourself. You are all alone. It’s all up to you to take whatever you’re going to get. Shower it on yourself because in the end, the one who dies with the most toys wins. Refrain from compassion. Refrain from sharing. Refrain from believing because this is all there is. Join the refrain, the world commands us, because this is the only way.

Sadly, lots of folks live their lives, singing this song, buying into this tale, selling their souls by settling for a self-absorbed existence before death prevails.

But, there are other folks who are singing a different tune. They’ve heard a different song. They march to the beat of a different drummer. An unwed, teen mom named Mary did that. Many here today are doing the same. They’ve added their voices to a chorus that sings a very different song, which Mary sang. It’s a song you can sing, too.

The living God invites you and me and all of us to join the refrain. This refrain isn’t a dirge of death. It’s the joyful song of Life. Join the refrain: Stand tall, sing aloud, and live a life of hope because Jesus Christ is risen today. The One who was born in Bethlehem’s barn and who suffered on Calvary’s tree and who arose with Easter’s dawn is the Firstborn of God’s New Creation, and he is making all things new. Death is not going to have the last word, because God already has.

So, join the refrain: Share yourself in love with God, neighbor, and creation. You are not alone – because Emmanuel – God is with us. God is with you. God is your shepherd, my shepherd; therefore, we shall not want. We shall lack for nothing. Don’t refrain from compassion; come alive in it – for as you live lives that are loving, generous, forgiving, humble, hopeful, and holy you come alive in Jesus Christ, who shall depose every parasitic tyrant and fill every hungry child; who shall evict the high and mighty and establish the humble and lowly. Join the refrain of those who long for God’s kingdom of love, justice, and peace – and get busy preparing a way for that coming day right now.

Christmas is coming and that is all well and good. Enjoy the season. Have some fun. Sing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” God wants us to enjoy life, and there is no better time than Christmas to do that.

Yes, Christmas is coming and that is good. But Christ is coming, too, and that is better. Santa and presents are harmless and fun. But Christ and his kingdom are a whole lot better than whatever you are going to open up Christmas morning – because the gifts Christ wants to give you will not only save you and fill you with joy; they will change the world and establish The Day when “thy kingdom come, thy will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

A beloved carol asks: “Do you hear what I hear? Do you hear what I hear? A song, a song high above the trees with a voice as big as the sea; with a voice as big as the sea.”

That’s the song May sang. It’s the song we can sing, too. Do you hear it? Let us all join the refrain.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!