|Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 18, 2012||Sermon, Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B||Numbers 21:4-9, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21|
|Third Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 11, 2012||Third Sunday in Lent, Year B||Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22|
|Second Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 4, 2012||Second Sunday in Lent, Year B||Mark 8:31-38|
|Sermon, First Sunday in Lent, Year B||February 26, 2012||First Sunday in Lent, Year B||Genesis 9:8-17, I Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1: 9-15|
|Ash Wednesday Service, Feb 22, 2012||February 22, 2012||Ash Wednesday||Joel 2:1-2, 12-17|
|Last Sunday After Epiphany, Year B||February 19, 2012||Last Sunday after Epiphany||2 Kings 2:1-12, Psalm 50:1-6, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||February 12, 2012||Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Mark 1: 40-45|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||February 5, 2012||Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year B||Isaiah 40:21-31, Mark 1:29-39|
|Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 29, 2012||Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||I Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 22, 2012||Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Mark 1:14-20|
|Second Sunday After The Epiphany, Year B||January 15, 2012||Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139: 1-5, 12-17; John 1:43-51|
|First Sunday After The Epiphany, Year B||January 8, 2012||First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Mark 1:4-11|
|Sermon on Joy, Epiphany, 2012||January 6, 2012||Epiphany||Matthew 2:1-12|
|Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011||December 25, 2011||Christmas Day, 2012||Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 2:1-20|
|Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2011||December 24, 2011||The Eve of the Nativity of our Lord||Luke 2:1-20|
Third Sunday in Advent
Sermon Date:December 11, 2011
Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Canticle 15; John 1:6-8, 19-28
Liturgy Calendar: Third Sunday of Advent, Year B
“Last night I had a dream—a dream of that moment in my life when everything changed—when the Lord stirred up his power within me.”
“A dream so vivid—“
I was so young then, only a girl, and my mother had sent me to get water from the well in Nazareth early in the morning.
And I had filled my water jug, and I was hurrying home when suddenly the sun grew bright in my eyes. The earth seemed to be on fire.
Through the light, I could just distinguish the outline of a towering figure facing me on the path.
The towering figure had blazing eyes, and wings shining like molten gold, a robe of shimmering silver, and he was bending toward me.
I was mesmerized, I could not move, and I was filled with awe and wonder.
And then the figure spoke and said, “Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you.”
I was perplexed. What could this message mean?
The shining figure continued.
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus….and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
“How can this be?” I cried out to myself. “I’m only a girl, carrying water home to my mother.”
And the angel said to me, as if reading my mind,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, the child to be born will be holy, he will be the Son of God.”
What do you say to a fiery angel with wings of molten gold?
The angel waited.
And then I could feel it, the heavenly heat pouring through me. I felt as if I were on fire.
And I cried out, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord!”
“Let it be to me according to your word.”
Energy rushed through every fiber of my being.
And the power of the dream was so real that I woke up with a start—and then lay still, remembering.
I ran the rest of the way home that day wrapped in God’s power. I could feel God’s power clothing me like a garment of salvation, like a robe of righteousness.
And the Son of God was born. I held him in my arms, and he grew up, and left me and went throughout Galilee, proclaiming his kingdom that the angel had said would have no end.
Even at the foot of the cross, when I was full of sorrow, I could still feel it—God’s power clothing me with a mantle of praise for God’s mighty work—for the life of my son, God’s son– even when he drew his last tortured breath, when the sun grew dark and the whole earth fell into shadow.
Full of God’s power, anointed by God—because she acquiesced to God.
“Let it be to me, according to your word.”
John the baptizer, full of God’s power, also anointed by God, must have been filled with God’s power in a way no less dramatic than Mary was.
John, too, must have felt that energy, felt God’s power coursing through him—because the scripture tells us that John was sent from God, sent to testify to God’s almighty power, unleashed on earth.
John, clothed in camel’s hair, anointed by God, went out into the wilderness.
The people came from all over Judea. The people poured out from Jerusalem, into the wilderness, drawn by God’s power to the River Jordan, drawn by John’s testimony.
And John’s testimony was this—“I have baptized you with water, but one is coming who is greater than I am.”
“And he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
What did the people feel as they entered the cold water, felt it wash over them?
If they had truly heard John’s message, they must have felt great wonder and curiosity and awe as they scrambled back up the riverbank.
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Even as they stood wet and trembling, they must have felt the heat of God’s love wrapping them in their garments of salvation—
They must have felt expectant, now dressed to meet the one who was coming, the one who was already among them.
John said, “I baptize with water. But among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.”
“And He is the One who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
We have gathered here today, we who are God’s chosen, God’s beloved, and among us stands the One that we do know.
Through our own baptisms, this One has clothed us in our own garments of salvation, and we have gathered here today to witness Hamilton Christopher entering into this family of God’s chosen through baptism.
He will feel the water of baptism pour over his head in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
He will feel my finger trace the sign of the cross with the holy oil, sealing him and marking him as Christ’s own forever.
Today, God clothes Hamilton in his own garment of salvation.
And today, God gives each and every one of us some work to do on Hamilton’s behalf.
Whenever Hamilton is in this household of God, may he find that he is among people who are wrapped in God’s power,people who see and listen to the mighty angels.
May Hamilton find, when he is in our midst, that he is with people who are filled with God’s power as Mary was,
May he find that he is with servants who live out the words of Mary,
“Here we are, the servants of the Lord, let it be with us, according to your word.”
May Hamilton find that he is with people who know, as John the baptizer did, that we are not the light, but that we are here to testify to the light,
To testify to that one who has come among us with great might—
The One who brings good news to the oppressed
The One who binds up the brokenhearted,
To testify to the One who proclaims liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners
To testify to the One who clothes us in God’s power and might,
The One who proclaims the Lord’s favor to each and every one of us throughout eternity.