New Images of Joy

This sermon can be heard here

 Gate Pa – Advent 3 2012
Hebrew Scripture:     Zephaniah 3: 14-20
Psalm:                         Isaiah 12:1-6
Epistle:                        Philippians 4: 4-7
Gospel:                        Luke 3:7-18

What I want to say:
to explore how John might invite us into new ways of experiencing joy

What I want to happen:
what new way seeing and living in world do we need to embrace

The Sermon

     1.      Introduction

Theme this Sunday is Joy
what is joy?
what gives us joy?
where does joy lead us?

     2.      Joy

20 years ago – went England for youth ministry conference
introduced to Joy
            group young people – come faith through work Anglican group in Oxford (England)
            organised a service each month –
            both Anglican – held in Anglican church (took all pews out)
                        held to same structure as our liturgy
                        always included eucharist – presided over by priest in full robes
                                    using authorised liturgy
            came out Rave culture
                        huge muslin screens three sides – slides projecting on to them from slide projectors (pre data projectors)
                        always electronic music playing – except when wanted silence
                                    or we were singing
                        always wrote own music sing to
                        pretty interactive
è most amazing thing I had ever been to
                        some from conference who hated it
loved images around us
loved Anglican flavour
loved music
loved that young people who organised did not run it to attract other people
            it was their service – for them
            this was how they wanted to do church
            they spent a month meeting and working with the scripture readings set down for that Sunday – really grappling with it
            and the end result was for them to worship God in a way that was true to who they were and the Anglican Tradition
ran service for conference every night
thing that remains is that such joy being with that group people
constantly seeing things in new light
knocked out presuppositions
had my eyes open to different way seeing world

     3.      Sunday

1. One things see differently is what we do here in church Sunday by Sunday
            probably would have said that we need to run really good services so that we attract people to join us
            now say – we run services (which really means who I am) that will allow us to be in God’s presence in a way that is true to who we are
mission primarily happens before come here
            what we do here undergirds everything else

     4.      Being Random

Few of us tried curating (that is term used) similar services here in NZ
particularly around the use of images
intrigued watching friends and how they did it
friend who was very particular about where slides be in service
more approach – these are slides around theme of service
put them in rough order
we will see what happens
interested that Jackie often be disappointed
            hadn’t quite worked as she had thought it would
            and I always surprised at where slides would appear
                        sometimes not work
                        sometimes gave you really fresh look at reading
                                    ideas wanted to explore
                        knocked you out assumptions and ideas
            go – aha I have never thought about it like that before

     5.      John and Joy

This Sunday is all about Joy
but I don’t think lectionary writers paid any attention to that when writing lectionary
think more focussed on telling the back story behind who this Jesus is who we are expectantly waiting for
so on this Sunday all about joy
John thundering from Jordan
            baptising everyone who comes to him
offers us wonderful opportunity to see joy in new light
look again at these questions?
è what is joy?
è what gives us joy?
è where does joy lead us?

     6.      John

John lived in world where really important know who was in and who was not
            actually we live very similar world
a lot cleansing rites around that time – especially at temple
            established who was in and who was not
                        who was in righteous group?
                        group within God’s care
                        who was not?
                                    outside God’s care
                                    outside ours.
            that still at work today
John’s baptism seems have no barriers
all baptises
no matter who are?
            who family is
            where come from
            rich or poor
            healthy or sick
            deemed a sinner or not
John is egalitarian
him all were sinners!!
including Pharisees and priests – supposedly ritually pure
still sinners
come from best families
still sinners
people high honour
still sinners
in fact maybe even worse others
where is joy in that?
John’s baptism announced God’s concern, care aroha for all people – even though they are sinners

     7.      what now?

gives lesson on how to live our repentance
live it out by….
not protecting what is ours
not clinging what we have
seeing need around us and
meeting that need with what God has given us to share
            which is everything
Joy comes in not clinging to what we have
but giving it away
honest - that is not easy
hard let go
            change mind set to see what worked for all our lives as God’s gift to us
            so that we might in turn be as generous
but when we manage to live it
            there is great joy in that.

     8.      Pew Sheet

Take some time each day this week to pray and reflect with this photo.
è How does John help us find joy this Christmas
è How our normal Christmas scenes help us into God’s joy?
è How do they hinder us?
è What new joy are you being invited to experience this year?


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