Coming Ready Of Not

This can be heard here

Gate Pa – Advent 2 2014
Readings:
Psalm                         Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13                                        
First Reading:             Isaiah 40:1-11  
Second Reading:        2 Peter 3:8-15                         
Gospel:                        Mark 1:1-8                              

What I want to say:
Use Isaiah and Mark to suggest that God did come and is coming ready or not. So what does that mean for us preparing and waiting through this time of Advent? What does that mean for us as people about to celebrate 200 years since Gospel and Anglicanism came to this land?

What I want to happen:


The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

Remember playing hid and go seek
            count up to 10, or 100 or some other number
            when got there yell out – coming ready of not
hunt was on
little ones usually easy find
            – squealed delight and anticipation of being found
older ones harder, sneakier
sometimes so busy finding best place
            found no place
            hearing words coming ready or not – all bad news



     2.     Isaiah

passage heard from Isaiah
beginning of second Isaiah
            chapters 40- 55
            written towards end exile.
has been suggested that these words heard from isisah this maornign are all about this
God has counted
and is coming for exiles – ready or not.
in fact God is more than coming
God is rushing headlong for the exiles
and nothing
but nothing is going to get in the way
            not valleys
            not hills or mountains
God is coming – ready or not.
which is a great image isn’t it
unless your like the kid still trying to get it together
while it is a grand image
also pretty disturbing
because truth was – not ready
Exile understood God’s punishment for abject failure Hebrew people to live as people of God
            not lived as people living in God’s presence
            sent into exile – punishment
                        chance to mend their ways
not a lot changed from when first came to Babylon
sure – some still devout – harder here without temple
others played lip service demands       
            not treat others well
            not treat poor well
            really in it for themselves
others no longer worshipped one God
            and instead moved allegiance to gods Babylon
            in particular – Marduk the chief god
but people see what happening
            Babylon falling
            Persia rising
Persians known letting exiles return home
so how were exiles to make sense of this

     3.     Making sense of it all

first thing did was reaffirm God’s sovereignty
            God is in control of everything
            God sent them into exile
            God will take them out
God is coming – ready or not

second – shift away from strict reward punishment understanding of God
that’s how understood exile
            behaved badly
            got punished
            got sent on exile
            when behave well
            get rewarded
            get to go home
But god isn’t waiting around
God is coming ready or not
It is God’s mercy and grace that is at work here.
God forgives long before the people have even worked out that something is wrong
God love before there was a people
God continues to love even at the darkest hour
This God is a God of mercy, love and grace
This God is coming ready or not
and this God will stop at nothing to find us.

     4.     Mark

how many gospels have Christmas story?
are they the same?
what are the differences?
everyone agrees Jesus born Bethlehem
            grew up in Nazareth
Mathew – from Bethlehem but because Herod move Nazareth
Luke – come from Nazareth – go to Bethlehem for a census.
John – starts with “In the beginning”
Mark – starts with John the baptiser
Mark – bit of Deuteronomy – linking John with Moses
-         bit of Malachi – suggests that before Messiah comes Elijah come again
o   John is Elijah
then finishes quote from Isaiah 40 – coming ready or not.
this coming is not quite what people had expected
            had hoped and dreamed for
those hopes and dreams
those expectations just kept getting in the way.
They were looking for someone get rid Romans
            get rid corrupt high Priests
            re-establish kingdom of Israel.
for them that was the point.
and if they were just devout enough,
just holy enough
God would do it to reward them.
In Jesus, God subverts these hope and dreams and expectations
shows how God not so much interested in setting up new political entity
more concerned people began to live as if
            they are living in presence of God
living as people made in image God
treating others as also made in image God
            as objects Gods mercy, love and grace.

     5.     Peace

This Sunday – second Sunday advent
lit peace candle
prayed for peace
wonder God is subverting our hopes this Christmas
wonder where we see God coming ready or not bringing peace
wonder how we experience that in our lives
            how we are being invited to respond
are we ready?
are we ready to be found by this God of peace this Christmas?

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