|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|
|Twenty Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||November 13, 2016||Proper 28, Year C||Malachi 4:1-2a, Ps 98, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Luke 21:5-19|
|Charles Sydnor’s sermon, Nov. 6, 2016, All Saints||November 6, 2016||All Saints, Year C||Luke: 6: 20-31|
|Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 30, 2016||Proper 26, Year C||Isaiah 1:10-18, Psalm 32, Luke 19:1-10|
|Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 23, 2016||Proper 25, Year C||II Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14|
First Sunday in Advent, Year A
Sermon Date:November 27, 2016
Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5, Ps 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44
Liturgy Calendar: First Sunday of Advent, Year A
Today is the first Sunday of the new church year, and the first Sunday of Advent.
Advent means “to come” in Latin, and this is the season when we Christians are waiting for Jesus to come—“Come, Lord Jesus.”
In this season of Advent, we fervently pray, “Jesus, come to us as Mary’s baby and God’s son–born in a stable, the One who will grow up to lead us in the ways of justice, truth, reconciliation, and healing.”
We are also waiting for Jesus to come in glory at the end of time to judge the living and the dead and to bring time and space and all of creation together into one cosmic unity.
So even as December comes and goes, and as the promises and joys of Christmas once again grow dim in our hearts, we Christians will still be waiting for the completion of all that began with the birth of our Lord and Savior so long ago.
As the theologian Richard Rohr puts it, long after Christmas is past, our “assured shout of cosmic hope—‘Come, Lord Jesus’ is “a leap into the kind of freedom and surrender that is rightly called the virtue of hope.”
Rohr says that “the theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves.”
The phrase “Come, Lord Jesus,” invites us to be perpetual seekers of God, and to be seekers of the signs of God’s reign already in our midst even as we wait for its completion in all of creation.
God is in the process of making all things new—and Advent reminds us that we are to keep awake and on watch for what God is up to all around us.
Today’s lectionary passages provide us with some thoughts about how to keep this Advent hope awake, long after the season of Advent has ended, and to stay on watch for Jesus to show up, usually when we least expect him, and to bring in God’s reign.
I have some things to help you remember the help that today’s scripture gives us regarding the care and tending of this Advent hope of Jesus’s return.
Check out this amazing purse! This belonged to my mother-in-law, who had countless purses—and this is one of them! Who ever heard of a clock purse!
But this purse makes me think of Paul’s words to the Romans regarding how to tend their hope for Jesus’ return.
“You know what time it is!” Paul says. “It’s time to wake up from sleep…for salvation is near; the night is far gone, the day is near.”
Let me look in here—hmmmmm, what’s this? The armor of light?
Paul says, “Lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
Handy, there’s a list of things this armor has that makes it strong.
“Gather together around God’s table.”
“Learn and pray together.”
“Whenever you sin, repent and return to the Lord.”
“Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.”
“Seek and serve Christ in all people. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Strive for justice and peace among all people. Respect the dignity of every human being.”
When we are intentional about carrying out our baptismal vows, then we are putting on the armor of light.
We are putting on our Lord and Savior himself!
What else is in here? Here’s something from today’s psalm.
Here’s a ticket—it says
“Trip to the house of the Lord! Unlimited uses!”
Now that would be a joyful trip to take, because going to the house of the Lord for us would be like entering into all of time and space, watch time and space swirl like galaxies around you, to realize that you have entered into God’s unity, and that you are dwelling in the peace and safety that only God can give.
And according to Isaiah, God’s unity brings with it peace. Imagine that! Peace—swords turned into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks! No one fighting, and no one learning war any more!
That’s what we’d find if we went to the house of the Lord.
Check this out—a pair of shoes.
Shoes….That’s it! When we go to the house of the Lord, God teaches the way for us to go, so that we can walk in God’s paths.
Here’s something else. This is a coffee cup, and it has a big question mark on it.
This must be that Advent reminder from today’s gospel, when Jesus says “Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”
Be on the watch.
And here’s one last thing.
The last time I went to Israel, we stayed at a hotel on the Sea of Galilee. I had to preach the next day, so I had stayed up late in a small chapel praying over and working on what I was going to say. When I headed back to the room, all of the lights on the porches had been turned out, and I was feeling my way along in the darkness because I had left my flashlight in the room because I didn’t know how dark the walk back would be. Suddenly, space opened up under my feet, and I was in a free fall down a long flight of steps. At last the fall ended, and I was still for a while.
Then I got up very carefully in the dark and moved my arms and legs and my back and my neck. I was so thankful not to have broken any bones, although my glasses were broken and one of the lenses was missing.
I finally got back to the room. My roommate woke up and I told her what had happened. She got out her flashlight, and we went back to the flight of stairs. In the light of the flashlight, we found the missing lens, and back in the room, she was able to put my glasses back together so that I could see again.
Thank goodness I didn’t get hurt, and my glasses survived!
But if I’d been prepared and had my light, the accident never would have happened.
So be prepared! It’s Advent!
Know what time it is!
Put on the armor of light!
Get up the nerve to use that ticket and go on that journey to the house of the Lord!
Walk in God’s paths!
Stay awake and alert and be ok with the mystery of God’s timing!
But most of all, carry the light of Christ with you at all times, the light that shines in the darkness –and the darkness cannot overcome it.
One last thing—now that Advent is finally here, let’s give a shout out to this season of hope—“our assured shout of cosmic hope…”
“Come, Lord Jesus!”
Resource: Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent, by Richard Rohr. Franciscan Media, 2008.