Gate Pa – Advent 1 2015
Psalm Psalm 25:1-10
First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Gospel: Luke 21:25-36
What I want to say:
To explore the notion of hope at advent as more than just Christmas and peace to all on earth
It is ultimately trusting in God that all will be well, that all shall be well, that all manner of things shall be well. It is also recognising that we have a role to play in this hope. That God will not simply magic everything right. We have a part to play. And lastly that as we participate in this hope, we are being changed into people of hope – people who refuse to give into the fear and hopelessness and stands against the rising tide of constantly looking for scape goats to blame.
What I want to happen:
To find our voice this Advent on all sorts of issues that face us as a country and as a world
Happy New Year.
Yes, new church year has begun.
and it is advent
A time to get ready, to prepare for the greatest event of all time
coming of God’s reign of mercy, generosity, justice, and love.
Are you excited?
Because we should be super excited
and to get even more super excited
to get fully get ready we are offered four themes over advent:
Today is all about Hope.
2. Dark Shadows
which makes choice of today’s readings really interesting.
because two readings have very dark shadow hanging over them.
dark shadow of fall of Jerusalem
Jerimiah and Luke and the fall of Jerusalem
Jeremiah – shadows are imminent
not happened yet,
But writing is on the wall
ancient city is under threat
temple – under threat
line David ruled for over 400 years is under threat.
For gospel writers
shadow is past events
events that cast pall over parts all four gospels
- Jewish revolt of 66 CE
o began in Jerusalem
o quickly spread throughout Judea and Galilee
o while had couple successes at beginning
o Rome’s response swift and deadly
o army around 60,000 marched down through two areas
§ destroying all cities opposed them
§ eventually taking Jerusalem in orgy of killing
· and destroying temple
o when all over thought 1 million Jews died
o another 600,000 sent Rome as slaves
- Luke’s passages about end make a lot more sense when realise that these events were very recent when his and other gospels written.
both these events were cataclysmic
hard for us to even imagine psychological shock that had on Jewish community
included small Christian sect.
in face of all that – writers gospels offers their story of hope
3. Advent Hope
if you believe some commentators today
live under similar shadow and death and hopelessness
face what happened in Paris
is happening many other places around world
hard to hope
easy to believe that we are equally under threat today
but this is advent – time for hope
or at least prepare for possibility hope that Christmas brings
readings offer thoughts about hope
4. Hope in God
First partly surprising thing is that despite the huge black clouds hanging over everything, both these passages are passages of hope – Hope in God.
Three components to this hope.
First is that this is a hope in, or trust in God and Gods justice, mercy, generosity and love
or to put it another way
rejecting trusting in power of own military
rejecting in trusting in presence of temple as symbol that nothing bad will happen
rejecting in trusting that own actions built on fear and self-preservation will offer any kind of future.
is an absolute trust in way of God
generosity of God
mercy of God
love of God
justice of God
absolute hope found in loving the lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and loving ALL your neighbours as yourself.
three years ago spoke about Julian of Norwich
she had this kind of hope when she said
“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
“If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.”
“God loved us before he made us; and his love has never diminished and never shall.”
This hope then is found only in God.
5. Hope involves us
Second component is that it involves us.
This hope in God is not based on God magicking the cloud away
- not Jeremiah’s cloud
- not Luke's cloud
- not our clouds
nor does it involve us creating right set circumstances so that God will come and magic the clouds away
instead - involves living out that hope
living as if those clouds do not hang above us
living as if reign of God is now, all around us
in the way we respond to the cloud
in the way we treat our families, our neighbours, act in our communities
in our voice in the public square
we are to be people of hope
of that hope described above
6. Hope will change us
final component is that when we try and trust in God’s hope
when we try to live out this hope
we will be changed from within
we will become people of hope
not just because of what we do
but because of who we are inside
that is the greatest gift of Christmas
God comes to change us into people of Hope, peace, love, joy
7. pew sheet
Advent then is the time we prepare our garden for the seeds planted during this time
so that they might bear fruit
in pew sheet invite you spend each day in prayer with these questions as part of the preparation.
• How has your hope in God changed over your life?
• In what ways might you be invited to reform your life this advent as we prepare for Christ’s coming?
• How are you being changed by love?