I was reminded the other day that the Anglican Church worldwide declared the 1990’s as the Decade of Evangelism. I remember when I first heard about it and feeling rather skeptical about it. Many people I spoke with were even more doubtful saying that Anglicans don’t do evangelism.
Well to tell you the truth, when people start agreeing with me, I begin doubting myself. So, I decided to try and make evangelism part of my ministry and preaching. Because I was unclear about if from the outset it was difficult for me. Then I heard something so simple that it clarified the whole matter for me. In our Baptismal service as we renew our own Baptismal covenant there is a question, "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?"
It’s as simple as that. Evangelism is as simple as seeking and serving Christ in everyone we meet. But you know that things are never as simple as they seem as first. To seek and serve Christ in others we first acknowledge the Christ in ourselves.
What’s this got to do with Advent? Advent is a time of preparation and preparation in many different ways. In the practical sense like gift buying, baking and making travel plans. In the liturgical sense by planing worship, decorating and rehearsing anthems. It the spiritual sense by prayer and the retelling of the nativity story.
The story of the birth of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago is an important and life changing story if we recognize that it is also about the birth of God in our lives, in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls.
Our Advent preparation should include a preparation for the birth of God, yet again in our lives so that we are empowered to do the work of evangelism, seeking and serving Christ in all persons, loving our neighbours as ourselves.