Waiting Expectantly

 Gate Pa – Advent 1 2012 (Year C)


Hebrew Scripture:      Jeremiah 33: 14-16
Psalm:                         25: 1-10          
Epistle:                        1 Thessalonians 3: 9-13
Gospel:                        Luke 21: 25-26           

What I want to say:

What is advent – time preparation for Coming God in our midst
            feast Christmas
            second coming
time re-evaluate our hopes and how we live them out.

What I want to happen:

reflect on what it is they wait for, what they are invited to wait for, and whether they wait actively and expectantly or passively?

The Sermon

     1.      Introduction:

What is advent?
     *      Thoughts?
     *      expectantly waiting for coming for Christ which traditionally 3 elements
o   allows us share ancient longing for coming messiah
o   remember Messiah came when God All Holy bent down in love to live among us in this Jesus
remember and celebrate with birth this small baby at Christmas
o   Not just about Christmas – not the end of the story
also to be alert for Parousia or second coming
raises all sorts of questions about what we mean by that
            (God’s reign of justice, peace and love
when all we hope for is fulfilled in God)

     2.      Readings:

Advent is also beginning of new liturgical year – begin new cycle readings
      Year C
Year of Luke
      Year of the prophets
Readings this Sunday begin our journey in both
chosen way inform our expectant waiting
*      reading from Jeremiah invites us into the messianic hope – we believe found fulfilment in Jesus
*      Pauls letter to Thessalonians helps us see that we are to wait for the coming of Christ with love, for each other and for all
*      Gospel teaches us how to both
a.      hold hope in the midst of horror and despair,
b.      and to be alert for the fulfilment of God’s promises.

     3.      Jeremiah

want to focus this morning on Jeremiah
known as prophet of misery and doom – so much so that if you are deemed to miserable and pessimistic you can be called a real Jeremiah
wrote time long after David – now just a very fond memory of all that was good about king
      Northern Kingdom – Israel had been destroyed by Assyrians – people scattered across Middle East, “foreigner” now lived with remnant
      Southern kingdom Judah under enormous pressure first - Assyrians, then Egyptians and finally - Babylonians
while first king served as prophet under one good kings – Josiah
Sons undid all father done, resorted to old ways and old gods, looked to form strategic alliances which – end didn’t end well.
face all injustice and corruption, and immanent fall southern kingdom – spoke words of doom and despair
not go down well with Kings and advisors, and religious hierarchy or brother prophets,
all whom promised that because temple in Jerusalem God was with them and that all would be well
until witness fall Jerusalem, first taking leading families etc.. from Jerusalem to Babylonia in Exile, establishment of puppet king over Judea, before set of own exile in Egypt

     4.      Hope

not all doom and gloom and misery
in midst then all doom we have this morning’s reading – which part 4 chapters know as Book of Consolation (20-23)
offers hope
            hope linked peoples own longing another great king like David (remembering pre Bathsheba David before his lust led unravelling reign)
                        linked in with own readings of David’s story, especially last week’s reading focussed on promise made by God to David’s and his descendants
hope looked forward king who would restore end this suffering and restore southern kingdom
as time went on - hope that grew into longing for messiah– someone who could restore “Israel” to its former glory and peace as it was under David.
hope that Christians understood was fulfilled in person Jesus.
è how are we to read such prophecies
Ø  are they predictions of Jesus coming
Ø  or are they passages that are not so much predictions of Jesus birth, but are scriptures that came to be used early church to help understand who Jesus was for them and all people.
o   not necessarily about Jesus
o   used by faithful people over next 600 years make sense of their expectant waiting
o   played pivotal role helping early church make sense who Jesus was and is
o   can continue play role helping us make sense of our own expectant waiting

    5.      So what hope is offered here?

so what hope is offered here?
“Righteous branch spring up for David who will execute righteousness and justice in the land.”
what we understand righteousness and justice to be?
Message paraphrases this as
“‘Watch for this: The time is coming’—God’s Decree—‘when I will keep the promise I made to the families of Israel and Judah. When that time comes, I will make a fresh and true shoot sprout from the David-Tree. He will run this country honestly and fairly. He will set things right. That’s when Judah will be secure and Jerusalem live in safety.”
own debates in church and in this land over gay marriage,
or the international debate over Palestinian and Israeli aspirations
show we have hugely different understandings of both those terms
how people have understood it and continue to understand it over last 2,500 years has changed
            from being about a new King who would lead them
            messiah ( again, what does this mean – debate)
            Jesus the Christ
            looking ahead second coming
            no doubt significant number other ways as well.
Prophecies like that we read in Jeremiah cannot be read as cut and dried things
            are simply and only about Jesus
meant to be wrestled with
meant to be read in light of world we live in
meant to engender hope in that world
suggest that for us the question Jeremiah poses us this Advent is
“how is God’s righteousness and justice being served in what is happening both internationally and in Aotearoa NZ,
in our political, social, economic, religious and personal context.
and what more to do we hope for
more importantly, what more does God hope for

     6.      Expectant Waiting

as we look around, God’s righteousness and justice is not being executed in the land.”
we wait still
            2,000 years after Jesus birth -            we wait
as people who have read Jeremiah have waited for 2,500 years
not a passive waiting
slouching around waiting for God
it is expectant
it is active
Jim Wallis (is an evangelical Christian writer and political activist. He is best known as the founder and editor of Sojourners magazine and as the founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Christian community of the same name. Wallis is well known for his advocacy on issues of peace and social justice. Although Wallis actively eschews political labels, he describes himself as an evangelical and is often associated with the evangelical left and the wider Christian left. He works as a spiritual advisor to President Barack Obama.)[1]

“Hope is believing in spite of the evidence, and watching the evidence change.”
a believing that God is already changing the world, and is waiting for us to join in
this is a kind of waiting the changes us,
This is really what Advent and Christmas are really about
changing us to be a people of hope, expectantly waiting for Gods righteousness and justice
looking for signs of that righteousness and justice
It is a time to let go of past disappointments and to start again
to ask again
who are we
whose are we
what is ours to do
what more does God hope for this Christmas?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Wallis