What is Joy

The final version on this sermon can be heard here.

Gate Pa – Advent 3, 2014
Psalm                         Psalm 126                                                                           
First Reading:                         Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11                   
Second Reading:        1 Thess 5:16-24                                
Gospel:                          John 1:6-8, 19-28                                 

What I want to say:
Explore what gives us joy as we approach Christmas, and then use our reading from Isaiah and St. Francis to talk about what gives God joy

What I want to happen:
What will give us joy this Christmas?
How might we bring God’s joy to others?


The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

The theme for this week is “Joy”
so I wonder what gives us joy
            talk to neighbour or ponder that for your selves

     2.     Isaiah

Isaiah – 2 weeks ago
heard in reading from Isaiah
unrealised hopes of returning exiles
hoped for things as they had been
all that should be theirs as people of God
            leaders of people God
instead found life hard
not given respect they thought deserved
city of God remained small and poor
no walls – contact risk raids
no temple
today we hear another passage from third Isaiah
passage used by Jesus in Luke as his mission statement
if you want to know what Jesus was on about – here it is.
unlike passage from two weeks ago
this is about God’s joy
while imagery initially is all about royalty or priestly ascent
            justice royal/priestly responsibility
passage has strong links to earlier imagery of suffering servant (Isaiah 42)
-         both model for Israel in exile
-         one whose suffering brought redemption for his people
-         image we often associate with Jesus
Here this servant is to bring justice to the nations
            because God loves justice
            justice for the oppressed
                        broke hearted
                        faint in spirit
This spirit filled servant will lift all these who seek justice to new heights of wholeness
All good news
or is it really?

     3.     How we hear this passage

how we read and respond to this passage will depend on our own lives and life experience
remember at preaching conference
            middle class
telling us that black, liberation and feminist theology was unbiblical
how he read this passage would be entirely different from how
            he would understood this as being all about spiritual reality
            poor central and south America read it
            for them this is all about their material lives
                        nothing spiritual about this
                        about actual land, actual money, actual hope
            different from how African Americans read it
            how women around world read it
no one way is any more right than any other

     4.     God’s joy

how might we describe what gives God joy
how does that compare to our list?
Francis also talked about prefect joy
tell the story using Murray Bodo’s “Tales of Saint Francis”
what will give us joy this Christmas
how might we bring God’s joy to others


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