First Sunday in Advent, Year C

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Last Sunday after the Epiphany February 26, 2017 Last Sunday after Epiphany, Year A Matthew 17:1-9
Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany February 19, 2017 Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Year A Leviticus 19:1-2, I Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48
Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany February 12, 2017 Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany February 5, 2017 Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A Isaiah 58:1-12; Matthew 5:13-20
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – Reflections on Annual Convention, Susan Tilt January 29, 2017 4th Sunday after the Epiphany Matthew 5:1-12
Third Sunday after the Epiphany January 22, 2017 Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Psalm 27:1, 5-13, Matthew 4:12-23
Second Sunday after the Epiphany January 15, 2017 Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-12, John 1:29-42
First Sunday after the Epiphany, Baptism of Jesus January 8, 2017 The Baptism of our Lord, Year A The Book of Common Prayer
Epiphany January 6, 2017 Epiphany 2017 Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12
Christmas Day, Year A December 25, 2016 Christmas Day, 2016 Isaiah 52:7-10, Hebrews 1:1-4, Psalm 98, John 1:1-14
The Eve of the Nativity December 24, 2016 Christmas Eve Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2: 1-20
Third Sunday in Advent, Year A December 11, 2016 Third Sunday of Advent, Year A Psalm 146:4-9, Matthew 11:2-11
Second Sunday in Advent, Year A December 4, 2016 Second Sunday of Advent, Year A Matthew 3:1-12
First Sunday in Advent, Year A November 27, 2016 First Sunday of Advent, Year A Isaiah 2:1-5, Ps 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44
Christ the King Sunday, Year C November 20, 2016 Christ the King Sunday, Year C Jeremiah 23:1-6. Ps 46, Colossians 1:11-20, Luke 23:33-43

 

First Sunday in Advent, Year C

Sermon Date:December 2, 2012

Scripture: Psalm 25:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36

Liturgy Calendar: First Sunday of Advent, Year C


Last Sunday, the last Sunday of Pentecost, we entered into the scriptural drama of the end times.  In the book of Daniel, the Ancient One appeared and then we saw Jesus coming with the clouds of heaven.  That  same vision, of Jesus coming with the clouds, was repeated in last week’s reading from Revelation. 

This week, we remain in this same  drama of the end times.  In today’s  gospel, Jesus describes the end of world, the signs in the sun, the moon and the stars, and on earth the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting from fear and foreboding of what is coming  upon the world, for the power of the heavens will be shaken. 

And then once again, we have the vision of the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 

At the end and the beginning of every church year we enter into the end times.  And as we consider the end of time, we enter into the beginning of time, as we prepare once again for the coming of the Christ Child. 

Dean Markham at Virginia Theological Seminary points out that Advent is a reminder that we Christians are an “in between” people because we live in the time between Jesus coming to live  as one of us upon this earth, and the time in which Jesus Christ will return to judge both the living and the dead and to make God’s reign a final reality throughout the universe. 

So how are we to live as “in between” people? 

To live in these in between times is to live in hope.  As the beloved children of God, we long for the reign of God to come upon this earth.  We long for a redeemed and just society –we long for God to execute justice and righteousness on earth, so that all the peoples of the world will have what they need to  live in fullness and peace and  safety. 

During his lifetime, Jesus announced and lived out the beginning of God’s reign on earth—and when he comes again, Jesus will finish this redemptive work and will make sure that the whole cosmos recognizes the reign of God.

Our hope is that someday, the goodness of God’s universal reign will become a reality.  So we live in hope. 

And to live in the in between times is not only to live in hope, but also to live in love.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and told them how much he loved them and longed to be with them, how he prayed for them because he loved them so deeply.   Paul tells the Thessalonians that he is praying that the Lord will make them increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as Paul abounds in love for them.  

As in between people, we seldom enjoy perfect relationships, even with the people we are closest to in our lives.  But if we  live in hope, we hope that we can at least strive to live in love with others, even when the going gets tough.

And so, as in between people, we are called to live in love, even when we aren’t feeling loving.  The act of loving, especially in the face of difficulty, strengthens our hearts in holiness. 

When I’m frustrated with someone I love, I have to remind myself that God must have been frustrated and disappointed with me over and over  throughout my life–because I am an in between person. 

In fact, I can totally relate to the prayer of today’s psalmist.

“Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions, but remember me according to your love and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.” 

“Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting.” 

The reign of God has not entirely filled me or any of us yet.  We frequently find being compassionate and loving a challenge greater than we can manage.   But the more we can love one another, the more God’s reign becomes  possible in our lives. 

As  in between people, we cannot manage to be hopeful and loving people on our own. 

So the Psalmist asks God for guidance.

“Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation.”

The path of the Lord leads us from what has been in our lives, both good and bad, toward the future that our loving and compassionate God  has in store for us—God’s path leads us toward the reign of God and God’s salvation for the entire universe. 

During this season of Advent, God longs to show us the way, and to lead us and teach us. 

And Jesus reminds us  in today’s gospel to be on guard in these in between times, so that our hearts are not weighed down with the worries and stresses of this life, so magnified in this season as we add even more activities to our already busy schedules.

Jesus reminds us to be alert in these in between  times—alert for signs of hope even in the most hopeless situations, alert for love, even when our hearts are broken.

Ideally, we will find the time in this busy season to sit down and pray and to ask God to show us the way.  But since we are an in between people, the days of Advent may pass and we will not make time to sit and pray. 

But  even the busiest of us can ask God to be with us as we prepare once again for the coming of our Lord and Savior who came to us as a vulnerable child and who grew up to serve the vulnerable, and who will judge us and redeem us when he comes again in glory. 

So in order to help you  seek God in this in between time,  I have for each one of you a little prayer card that you can put in your pocket, or on your bathroom mirror, or on the dashboard of your car.

Pray this prayer during this Advent season. 

“Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation.”

Amen 

 

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