Hope in Advent

This sermon can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year C  2nd Sunday in Advent

Psalm              The Song of Zechariah 
First Reading  Baruch 5:1-9                                      
Second Reading         Philippians 1:3-11                            
Gospel             Luke 3:1-6                                          
What I want to say:
To explore how advent helps us remember that Christmas is important, but it is not the point. Advent points to Christ in history, Christ in mystery and Christ in majesty. What does hope look like in all that? Use the stories of Robben Island and Hanukkah to explore Jim Wallis’s description of how to live in hope.
What I want to happen:
What does living in hope mean for us this Advent?

The Sermon

       1.      Introduction:

Happy St. Nicholas day for Thursday
poor old saint Nick has been in the news a lot lately
well, not St. Nick really
Hana Koko in Nelson
claims of devastated children – I’m not going to comment on
scared children – seem more of those as parents plonk their unsuspecting young child on knee of red clothed man in shopping mall
Duncan Garner and Don Brash jumped in  - as they do
truck load of vile racist vitriol spewed out over internet
people just wanted the traditional Santa they said
Santa is white
big white beard
wears read suit
which actually is not traditional Santa
this is tradition Santa (Klingon Santa)
like Saint Nicholas
Santa was bishop
dressed as bishop
didn’t need to be any colour
wonder if traditional Santa turned up what Duncan and Don think of that
funniest comment was Christmas was under attack
they meant from Hana Koko
who looks more like “traditional Santa Nicklaus” than one people looking for
so wrong and yet so right
Christmas as we talk about it
is under attack from the coca cola Santa we think is the traditional Santa
turned traditional Santa and Christmas into marketing gimmick
wonder what children use to traditional Santa thought when coca cola Santa first came out

       2.      Christmas

what is Christmas about
we have Advent to think about that
4 weeks to prepare
remind ourselves that actually
Christmas is important but not the point
listened to podcast – talked about advent being preparing for
Christ of history – when 2nd person of Trinity – eternal word comes aomong us as one of us, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas
lived to show us nature of God
what it means to live in way of God
loving God with all our hearts and minds and souls
by loving neighbour  as selves
or as Michael Curry said
love God
love yourself
love neighbour
Podcast goes on
Advent is also preparing for Christ of mystery
becoming more open to living in presence of spirit of the crucified and risen Christ in the here and now
advent is preparing for the Christ of majesty
when all that God hopes for comes to be
reign of God – seen in Christ of history
reign of compassion, generosity, justice, peace
creation is renewed and humanity restored
comes to be
that is what Advent is
offers us big picture of what Christmas is
what a gift

       3.      Hope

theme for this week is hope
big theme
all kinds questions like
what do we hope for?
where do we look for fulfillment of our hopes?
what does God hope for?
where do we fit in with that?
ask this having just listened to Luke’s reading
themes of gospel Luke protest, subversion, liberation, salvation
song Zechariah prayed together psalm of hope
hope in the God of liberation
today's reading begins list of whose who time John
after read just as historical marker
number suggest that contrast
between powers who offer hope
offer peace and security
and John
in his baptism
invites people join
movement that would join in God’s work to change the world
work took big step forward on Christmas day
as I think about that and John’s baptisms of repentance
as think about about Hana Koko in Nelson
wonder if one reasons people objected so much
they replaced Santa of consumerism and
with figure that could stand for community
deeply subversive moment
maybe we should have stood with it

       4.      How to hope

one quotes like about hope from Jim Wallis
in pew sheet
talks about hope being “…believing in spite of the evidence, and watching the evidence change.”
what does that look like
story of Robben Island
story of Hanukkah (image)


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