Saturday, 1 December 2018

Be Alert

Be Alert - sermon for 2nd December 

Jeremiah 33: 14-16; Luke 21: 25 – 36 

Traditionally the first Sunday of Advent signifies HOPE.
And of our two readings this morning, the prophet Jeremiah starts out as a beacon of hope: Surely the days are coming… he writes as God speaks, when I will fulfil the promise  made.
There is much to hope for in God’s promises; God’s promises can be relied upon… and as we prepare to remember God’s greatest promise, fulfilled in a vulnerable baby more than 2000 years ago, it is good to have hope.
And then we come to the third week in a row of doom and gloom and the end of the world as Jesus comes back in judgement…
But, hang on a moment! That second paragraph tells us something else; something that really is hopeful.
Jesus and parables; yes, they always have some hope if you know where to look.
Fig trees; buds, new growth… that is a good sign, isn’t it?
(You all know of my connection with the RevGals, and I know I have told you before about the reflections we share on the week’s passages and how that might inform our preaching and worship each week. Over on our blog, there was a really helpful discussion about the fig tree and changing seasons.
Jesus talked about the signs of spring turning to summer; of buds and leaves and what we all know to look out for; and that when we see these things, we will know that the Kingdom of God is near at hand... In other words, the Realm of God is always at hand!!
Wow!! I had never looked at it like that before, but there it is; every year, day follows day; week follows week  and seasons come and seasons go… and as we witness them, we witness God’s kingdom at world all around us.
Now, if that isn’t hopeful, I don’t know what is!!
There’s more… because, obviously, sometimes we are not aware of God’s Kingdom; we get weighed down by the worries of  the world; we read in the news of terrible things happening and we forget to remember God’s Kingdom.
Counter to that –
When we pay attention, we are able to see the nearness of God’s Realm and the possibilities there are for hope and liberation.
As soon as we are able to listen for God and follow holy ways, we discover that it really is possible for Christ to come again.
In the deepest mysteries of faith we are able to recognise, that even in the darkest times, God is there; even in the worst situations, Hope becomes possible.
God does not just leave us to our own devices but calls us to bring the Kingdom of God into the here and now.
Jesus calls us to be alert… to be ready, to keep a lightness in our hearts and let the light shine.
As we witness the signs of winter we know that the earth needs to rest in order to have the strength for spring growth; as we hunker down, keep warm, and share the joy of Christmas – deep in the darkest weeks of winter, we remember again why Jesus came: to bring light in the darkness. Darkness we see; darkness we pierce with brilliant lights! Darkness that shows us hope.
Winter sunlight JMR2010

This hope is indeed, Good News.
Good News that our world needs in today’s tumult and confusion.
In this first week of advent, may we all be agents of Hope and may we remind ourselves again to be alert for the light of the Kingdom.

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