Witnessing to Joy?

This sermon can be listened to here

 Gate Pa – Year B 3rd Sunday Advent 2020,
Readings:
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:
What is joy? How do we nurture this seed of joy God plants within each one of us this year? This has been a hard year for some. How have we done?
Joy as de
What I want to happen:
People to reflect on how they describe who they are in light of how John, Mary and Francis answered that question
-          Joy is gift of God
o   Thessalonians
o   Perfect joy
John’s gospel portrays John as a witness to Jesus, who himself points to God the father, and in whom we find God’s peace, love, hope and joy. How then do we witness to this joy?
Finally, what brings God joy?  - a brief look at Isaiah

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

This has been an interesting year
For some a year not a lot different than others
Others – year of peace and soul time
Others- difficult year
For a lot of us, mix of all of that
Enjoyed lockdown
-         Tiring
-         Daughter lost job she loved at beginning
-         Farewelled too many friends and parishioners
o   Aware doing home communions this week lot fewer than last year
o   Aware Malcolm’s absence as we approach carol service
Theme for today is joy
Wonder
In light of all this year has been
What is joy for you?
Where have been moments of joy – if any?
     ð Discuss
 

        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.
Reading from Tehssalonisan reminds us
God is source of our joy
Source is God’s faithfulness
Joy very different from happiness
It is planted deep down and there are things we can do to help nurture our joy.
Couple years ago spoke about
 “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 of 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.
How does that help you find joy in this year and as we approach this Christmas
ð discuss
 

       3.     What brings God joy?

One things note in all this is how much my thinking about these themes
-         This week joy
-         Is about my joy
-         What brings me joy
-         What brings us joy
I wonder what happens when ask
-         What brings God joy?
-         Wonder how readings from Isaiah help us answer that
-         Talk about back story
-         God’s joy is found in work of transforming the former devastation
-         Where is God’s joy to be found today
-         Quaker campaign
-         CWS Christmas appeal
 

       4.     witnessing to joy

finish with thought about Jon Baptist
Johns gospel is more witness
Not baptize Jesus
But clear witness to Jesus
Who is himself the living way to know generosity, love, mercy, justice and joy aof God
Importance of John is that he is the forerunner fo all who seek to follow Jesus
He is our role model in that we too are to witness to Jesus
Final question then is
How have we witnessed to Joy this year?
What ways are we being invited to pay attention to and nurture our joy
God’s joy
That we might be witnesses to joy?

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