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
Theme this Sunday is Joy
what is joy?
what gives us joy?
where does joy lead us?
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
è most amazing thing I had ever been to
some from conference who hated it
loved images around us
loved Anglican flavour
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
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?
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
that still at work today
John’s baptism seems have no barriers
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
come from best families
people high honour
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?