Advent 3, Dec. 11, 2016

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Title:Advent 3, Dec. 11, 2016

Dec. 11, 2016 (full size gallery)

The 3rd Sunday in Advent is Gaudete Sunday (from the Latin meaning “rejoice”) which is taken from Philippians 4:4-5, the Entrance Antiphon of the day. We light the rose colored candle in addition to the other 2 violet ones. Purple is a penitential color of fasting while pink (rose) is the color of joy.

-Long ago the Pope would honor a citizen with a pink rose (or a rose) Priests then would wear pink vestments as a reminder of this coming joy.

-Rose is also used during Laetare Sunday (the fourth Sunday of lent) to symbolize a similar expectation of the coming joy of Christ’s coming in Easter.

The third Sunday of Advent is rose (pink) because pink symbolizes joy, the joy that Jesus is almost here.

We have much joy this week. The floor in the sacristy and the altar was refinished by the gifts of two parishioners. There is a definitely a glow in the floor. Betty announced that the church took in $1,100 during the spring and fall UTO Ingatherings.

There is an additional celebration.On Friday, we participated with other Port Royal entities, Town of Port Royal, Parks and Rec. and Caroline’s Promise. And we have two other fellowship related events- Choir Retreat on Sat. Dec. 10 and Everett’s Christmas part in the evening of Dec. 11. 

We also celebrated the birthdays of Talia, Nancy and Cherry. The Sunday was one of mixed sunshine in the clouds with more cloudes to the end. It was a typical December day in the 40’s.  We had 40 in the congregation.

In the readings there is a continuation of hope from Advent 2 but there is more concentration of what Jesus will do and to clarify the role of Jesus and John. There is an awareness that what Isaiah proposed may be a long time coming. Isaiah talks about a new Jerusalem and being open for returning exiles from the Babylonian captivity 500+ years before Christ.

Matthew gets more specific. Echoing Isaiah, he points out that the blind, the deaf, the lame and the lepers are being healed and good news is given to the poor. Anyone can claim to be a herald of the kingdom, but only in the presence of the Messiah will the true signs of the Kingdom be evident. These are not mere claims, but incontrovertible proof. Jesus actions are his proof

Jesus says to John that not only are the aspirations of Israel fulfilled in him, but that there is a direct connection between the deeds of Isaiah and the words of Matt 5. Jesus is a words and deeds "Coming One." And the deeds, which John focused on in his question, are different from the deeds that John imagined.

The sermon discusses the Gospel scripture describing John the Baptist in jail and its background but moves the sermon in a larger direction to discuss hope. During each Sunday of the Advent season, we focus on one of the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. 

Here is the transition – 

"John wants to know—can we hope in you, Jesus? Are you really going to change this world with your life giving love, acts of compassion and mercy?" “Are you the One who is to come, or are we to wait for another? This question echoes down through the centuries—this is the question we must ask ourselves."

The church is a place of hope to learn about scripture and the example of Jesus and to apply it in our lives and the world. The conclusion provides our mission – "May we bear his likeness into the small piece of history we inhabit, by being people of mercy and compassion, working for God’s purposes rather than for ourselves; by being people willing to work for justice for every human being and for all of creation in the face of every difficulty; and most of all, by being people who witness with hop e to God’s unquenchable and endless love for everyone and everything that God has made.  

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