Advent

Dec. 23, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Dec 23, 2018 in Advent, Sermons

This Sunday ends our Advent season, and after today’s scriptures and hearing the last four weeks speak to us it is clear it is a season that is about with hope and anticipation. Other times we might find this in looking forward to a baby, a wedding, a trip or visit with someone we love, but Advent is about hope, preparation, and anticipation of that first Christmas, which might not have been so easily or happily anticipated. Considering the circumstances of the world around Mary and Joseph, the long journey at the late of a first pregnancy, and the birth being away from home and in a place where the animals were kept, that first ‘Advent’ waiting might have been more about praying for the babe’s arrival to be safe and the child healthy even in desperate times amidst fear and worry, and plenty of unknowns.

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Dec. 16, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Dec 16, 2018 in Advent, Sermons

I admit, I’ve been listening to Christmas carols, —even while it is yet Advent! I’ll bet many of you do too. Yes, we love anticipating Christmas but not because it lets us escape the practices which Advent rightly calls us to, today in the words of John the Baptizer. These practices are what make us ready for this beloved annual celebration of the coming of the Christ child, this call to repentance and amendment of our ways is rightly put first again and again as we learn to do those things John speaks of as a pathway to genuine community in Christ and to deeper faith. We cannot get to Bethlehem and the infant messiah without first hearing this wilderness prophet calling us to account. Sure, people all around us might skip this part, but our arrival at the manger will be truly faithful and fruitful only after self-examination and thoughtful re-commitment to act. 

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Dec. 9, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Dec 9, 2018 in Advent, Sermons

What a list of leaders Luke gives us; The Emperor Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Herod, his brother Philip, Lysanias, Annas, Caiaphas, and finally John son of Zechariah brings up the end. John is of no rank or power like the other ruling leaders named. Yet we know his story and he is likely more familiar to us though, and you’ll remember that he was born to older parents thought to be ‘barren’, that his mother Elizabeth and Jesus’ mother Mary are cousins, and that John is conceived shortly before Jesus is. We are told John is sent as Jesus’ precursor of forerunner.

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Dec. 2, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Dec 2, 2018 in Advent, Sermons

Today we heard scripture speak of disastrous portents of the end times, signs like distress among nations, roaring of sea, people fainting from fear, and judgement coming. Unless you’ve been an Episcopalian for a very long time, you might not have anticipated this for our first Sunday of Advent, as we prepare our hearts for the joy of the coming Christ Child! How does all of this ‘doom and gloom’ square with Advent anticipation of the infant Jesus, and why preface this season with these words of “fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world”? Strange it as feels; this contrast offers much wisdom for us as Christians.

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Dec. 24, 2017 – Advent 4 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Dec 24, 2017 in Advent, Sermons

I’d like to invite you all to do something a bit different this morning. For the moment, try to put yourself in Mary’s shoes, if you will. Try to be in a reflective, even prayerful, mood – close your eyes, if you like. Try to really listen to these next words and imagine yourself as Mary, and the impact of these words:

Mary did you know…

that your baby boy would one day walk on water;
that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters;
that your baby boy has come to make you new;
that this child…you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you?

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Dec. 10, 2017 – Advent 2B (sermon)

Posted by on Sun, Dec 10, 2017 in Advent, Sermons

Back in college I very much enjoyed a short story writing course I took, and the first lesson was that one doesn’t necessarily start at the beginning. Our professor gave us a list of ways to structure it and a chronological order was pretty far down the list of ways to engage an audience in your story. One could start at the end and have the body of work be essentially a flashback, or it could jump around as each character supplied an element of the story in no specific order, and so on. I chose to start in the middle and then look back to what had brought the story to that middle point, and from there project out to the story’s end and the reader’s (hopefully) contemplating personal applications beyond its end. Perhaps the appeal was one of comfortable familiarity, because scripture does this regularly, especially today. Mark’s first line is “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” He is not talking about ‘chapter one’ being the beginning, he’s saying that Jesus’ story is the beginning of the Good News of God in Christ, a ‘plot-line’ that doesn’t end with his death and resurrection. That’s just the beginning in fact.

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