Joy to the Word and Such

Gate Pa – Year C  3rd Sunday in Advent,

Psalm                          Isaiah 12:2-6 (God Is My Salvation)              
First Reading:                         Zephaniah 3:14-20                             
Second Reading:                    Philippians  4:4-7                               
Gospel:                                    Luke 3:7-18                                        
What I want to say:
Joy is not happiness. Joy is a gift. It is planted deep down and there are things we can do to help nurture our joy.
John the Baptist shows us how to live lives of joy, unbound for that which takes us away from joy – when we live generously and compassionately.
How might we practically live generously and compassionately this Christmas?
What I want to happen:
How might we practically live generously and compassionately this Christmas?

The Sermon

        1.     Introduction:

Last week talked about how Advent reminds us
Christmas is important
-         not the point
how in Advent we prepare for
-         Christ of history – met in Christmas story and in life and ministry Jesus
-         Christ of mystery – meet the Spirit of crucified and risen Christ bringing in reign of God now in this place
o   see where to look for this reign by looking at Christ of history
-         Christ of majesty – our hope in time when God’s reign will fully come
-         however we understand that
o   creation renewed
o   humanity restored
Offered four themes through which to explore all this
Today is Joy
great theme on day like today
è day of joy
carol service tonight – hope invited lots to
for me highlight after all work choir has done to get to this point
-         experience fruits of our labours
baptising Angela and Kayden into people of God
commit to live in way of Christ
our theme today is Joy!
how appropriate

        2.     What is Joy?

Joy is one of the central themes of our lives as Franciscans
as those who seek to walk in the footsteps of Francis and Clare
who walked in the footsteps of Christ
But this joy is not something we can develop for ourselves
In our principles it is defined as
a divine gift, coming from union with God in Christ. It is still there even in times of darkness and difficulty, giving us cheerful courage in the face of disappointment, and an inward serenity and confidence through sickness and suffering. Those of us who possess it can rejoice in weakness, insults, hardships, and persecutions for Christ's sake; for when we are weak then we are strong.”
From “The Principles, Third Order, Society of Saint Francis.”
Joy is a gift.
very different from happiness
It is planted deep down and there are things we can do to help nurture our joy.
listening to “The Book of Joy - Lasting Happiness in a Changing World”
By Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams
quote research by Sonja Lyubomirsky
3 ways to be joyful
-         Ability to reframe a situation positively
-         Ability to experience gratitude
-         Voice to be kind or generous.
what surprises me is how often these three ways of nurturing joy keep coming up from the spiritual traditions Buddhism and Christianity
we pay attention to joy
we water and nurture the divine gift of joy
when we
-         reframe a situation positively
-         experience gratitude
-         are kind or generous.

         3.     Wild John

see these themes in what gospel writers have given us of the teaching of John the Baptiser
in baptism of repentance
-         more than saying sorry
-         changed behaviour
forgiveness facilitates that
-         sense of being unbound from how we have seen world and what we have done and
-         those things till exist in us
-         but we are freed from their power
-         so that we might live differently
There is a warning included
that can’t rely on things like – “I am baptised” for example
being baptised is important
not the point
living unchained from all that prevents us joining with crucified and risen Christ in bringing in reign of God
that is point baptism, advent and Christmas.
what that look like?

         4.     John’s way

looks lot like ways we nurture joy
when John asked that question – what should we do
answer – live generously and compassionately
reminds us that poverty exists in world because of
-         greed
-         ongoing desire for more and better
-         blindness effects of that on others
-         when we live for ourselves
-         when, as Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu would say – we lack compassion for the other
è Johns solutions are simple
-         if you have food and see someone with none – share
-         if you have 2 shirts and see someone naked – share
ð be kind
ð reframe a situation from one of gain for you to one of compassion
ð be kind or generous
-         if you are a tax collector or a soldier
ð don’t cause poverty
ð reframe a situation from one of gain for you to one of compassion
ð experience gratitude for what you have
ð be kind or generous.
think of a world where this way is lived out
it seems so simple
think of the joy this would bring God and us
how might you live this out this Christmas?


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