Peace and Goodwill???




 Gate Pa – Advent 2 2012


Readings:


Hebrew Scripture:     Malachi 3: 1-4

Psalm:                         Luke 1: 68-79

Epistle:                        Philippians 1: 3-11

Gospel:                        Luke 3: 1-6     



What I want to say:


God’s peace is found only when we look to Jesus and remember who we are, God’s people made in God’s image

Christmas is not about family time and cute stories about babies – good as that makes us feel

Christmas is time for us look through Christmas to promise that all will be well, admit all ways we contribute to lack of peace in world, remind ourselves that we stand in John’s shoes. are the voices crying out that?

“In the tender compassion of our God:

      the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death:

      and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”



What I want to happen:


     1.      what is peace

     2.      spend time reflecting on how we continue to forget we are made in God’s image and continue to destroy peace, and leave others dwelling in the shadow of death

     3.      spend time reflecting on and responding on God’s invitation to be part of the Christmas announcement that the dawn of God is breaking upon us, guising our feel into the way of peace.

The Sermon


     1.      Introduction:


two questions to start

*      if someone asked you to describe God, what would you say?  what are attributes of God?

*      what is peace?

o   how do we achieve it?

      2.      Peace


Simon, Israel and peace

Christmas is about peace – what kind of peace do we look for?

what is our role in bringing peace on earth?



     3.      John the Baptist


Today we heard about John the Baptist

together recited prophecy his father Zechariah spoke over him at circumcision –

explore

            prayer thanksgiving in anticipation

            Anticipate messiah

clear statement hopes around coming Messiah – line what already seen

                                    comes line of David

                                    hope goes back Abraham,

ancient longing and hope

Hope that be set free from enemies, “all who hate us”

longing of so many in so many parts of world today,

            across middle east, Africa, Asia, Europe

Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists,

We prayed with them

That In the tender compassion of our God:

      the dawn from on high shall break upon them,

to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death:

      and to guide their feet and our feet into the way of peace.



     4.      Power Games


Then in Gospel reading heard description of Johns ministry,

begins litany of who is in power

some see this simply way fixing when all this happened

Others see this much more subversive way

description Hierarchical authority – Caesar at top

based legions and domination of subject people

                       

imposition Pax Romana, and of Roman values and culture

threat enslavement or death

all others named held their positions power only by Caesars pleasure, - quickly removed if became displeasure,

Luke is not writing from viewpoint of powerful

writes as one who lives under this domination

 – this is more than useful information

writes as one suffered under Roman system

system all about acquiring and maintain honour and prestige, acquiring power and wealth through whatever means are available

face of that comes John

offering another way

John uses Isaiah

uncertainty whether it is voice or way is in the desert

uses striking imagery – making way flat, smooth and straight

            what area like

            can’t get lost in this new way, nor can you hide

            Jill’s comments where she grew up – flat as

                        very occasional dust storms see for miles away

                        trouble seen from far away



     5.      The Trouble with Peace and Repentance


Significant image in both Song Zechariah and preaching John – as told Luke

Baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins

What is sin?

Trouble with how often read John – reduced him to guy only points Jesus

trouble with that is we get stuck on Christmas day with cute baby,

and don’t look beyond

adults Jesus

hope of his coming again,

hope contained in all lived and preached

hope that God’s reign of Justice and love will finally come into being

trouble with much thinking about sin – reduced an individual’s moral wrongdoing,

if listen to some brothers and sister, mostly having sex wrong person

Sin Bible first and foremost communal –

            when communities fail allow all live in it to both contribute and benefit

sin is economic, social, political ecological, and religious.

individual sin becomes expression of community’s sin

            treat others as means of self-fulfilment –ego, wealth, lust,

            symptom relationships within wider community going wrong

left kind of society of Caesar and Pax Romana and his vassal rulers

That is not God’s way,

John invites people to another way,

his baptism repentance more than just individual sin

about letting go society described by all those rulers

embracing new way being people God

            way prophets

            way God’s justice and peace



     6.      St Augustine


let’s look at this another way

St Augustine reminded us that we are all made in image God

all humanity is made in God’s image

deep within us all

            attributes we talked about at the beginning

one purposes Christmas is to remind us of that

rekindle memory

might again live into being God’s image,

and live in way invites others grow into being image God.

When we remember we are God’s image

we build communities where all seen and treated as God’s image, God’s beloved

all are able contribute and benefit,

we build true peace



     7.      You my child….


Song Zechariah used - Morning prayer –at least last 1500 years

            interesting thing happens pray this every day

we become the ones who will go before the Lord, preparing the way

question for us every advent is how do we live that out?

what is it we announce?

invite pray – Tuesday am eucharist

Wednesday, Thursdays, Friday midday prayer



     8.      Finish


now time remember that made in image God

remember live society and world were we have forgotten what it means for all to be made in the image of God,

communities that are not places all contribute and benefit

as we walk towards Christmas

name our role in that and repent

     1.      spend time reflecting on how we continue to forget we are made in God’s image and continue to destroy peace, and leave others dwelling in the shadow of death

     2.      spend time reflecting on and responding on God’s invitation to be part of the Christmas announcement that the dawn of God is breaking upon us, guising our feel into the way of peace.



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