Revd Sue's final sermon for Advent Sunday

Advent

   a time of watching and waiting

      a time of longing and yearning

        a time of preparation .

I wonder

what you are watching and waiting for?  

 what are you longing and yearning for?

    what are you preparing for?

 

Ask any mother, any child

their answer would be the same Christmas

  and by that they would mean........

      buying presents, ordering turkey

          cooking festive food

        writing letters to Father Christmas

 

 I am knitting like crazy at the moment

 but all of this kind of misses the point.

  It’s like concentrating on the wrapping and not the gift .

 

Advent is a time when we are invited

   to watch and wait

      to long and yearn

           to prepare for the coming of Christ

 

for the coming of Christ as God Incarnate

    not just God with us but God as one of us

 

to watch and wait, to long and yearn to prepare

   for the coming of Christ in our lives and our church

 

and to watch and to wait, to long and yearn

for the coming of Christ at the end of time.

Psychologists tell us that we sum  people up

      within 30 seconds of meeting them

 Not by what they say but by their body language

 John called Jesus the of word of God .

 

 Jesus showed us what God was like.

 He was the body language of God

 Colossians tells us that He is the exact image of God .

 In Jesus we see a God who would stop at nothing to bring us back to himself.

 We see in Jesus a God who wants to be amongst his people.

 

Christmas is about celebrating the

all- encompassing, brave, persevering, unconditional love of god

because that is what we see in Jesus the man. 

 A god who was prepared to step into his creation in order to redeem it.

Advent is a time to ponder the meaning of the incarnation

   or maybe ponder the wonder

    or the mystery of Emmanuel , God with  us 

 

Advent a time for waiting and longings

   and looking for the coming of Christ in our lives

 Advent is a penitential season

    a time to think about whether we are living up to our calling as followers of Jesus.

 

It’s not about listing all of our everyday sins 

   but rather a time to take a look  at our priorities; 

      to check out whether they are in line with God’s priorities

 

It’s good to have a season to do  this

because it can take a while!!

 

 Maybe we need to re-soften our hearts to receive Christ’s  presence .

 It’s like this I think .

 Maybe at some point in time we experience a sense of God in our lives .

  We feel like we are really walking with him

    but over time our hearts become encrusted with a

         hard shell to protect us from hurt;

    sometimes we don’t want to feel the shame that

         comes from acknowledging our sinfulness;

    sometimes it’s to protect us from the hurts that

        others have inflicted on us ,

but either way

 

once we have hardened our hearts it’s difficult for us to receive Christ .

It’s like we have no longer any room for him .

 

 Advent is a time to ask Jesus to soften our hearts .

 To do this we need to spend time with him in quiet.

 

Listening with our hearts for his word in our lives

 so that we respond to the spirit calling us.

 At Christmas we remember that there was no room no for Jesus.

He made do with a little corner of stable

    and that was enough

  so make room for Christ in a small corner of your hearts this Advent .

Advent is a time  to prepare our hearts to receive the living Christ .

it’s a time to look for the out- working of grace in our lives

and so this is a season for looking for signs of Christ’s life in our lives and in our church.

Do something extra or different this Advent. 

 

Gill’s zoom compline services as an oasis of holiness on a weekday evening.  

Our church needs to be watching and waiting for the coming of Christ on our midst .  

 

and finally, Advent is the time to remember that Jesus is our risen and ascended lord .who promised that he would come again

 

 we prayer every day for Christ’s  kingdom to come and

  each  time  we do that

   we acknowledge that

     Jesus reign here on earth is not yet complete

          and look forward to a time

            when at last we shall see Christ reign on earth .

 

 

 We are not to become obsessed with how it will happen or then.

Too many people spend too much time thinking about this instead of getting on with the task in hand of following the Lord.

Rather we should be doing as Jesus instructed in  o many  of his parables

living each day as if we are expecting Christ to return .

  Paying attention to his business here on earth

 so that when he does return we will be able to hear those words

well done you good and faithful servant .

We need to be living lives that show that we know,

 despite appearances to the contrary,

     that Jesus is lord

        that we believe that it in dying and rising

   he did complete all that as necessary for the triumph of light over darkness

life over death

 so in Advent we should be looking for signs of Christ’s victory,

 signs of the coming of his kingdom here and now on

 in our lives

 in our church and in our world.

 and that it is where my Advent sermon ends .

 This where my goodbye sermon begins

  when I was training  for  ordination I used to go past a sign outside a church here in Brislington  where I am zooming  from  now!

 and I would always smile at the corny signs that one church put up on its notice board

 the one that made me the smile the most was

carpenter seeks joiners

 

 and this is so true . Jesus  is looking  for apprentices  to join him in the amazing Adventure of building  the kingdom of God here on earth  summed up in this poem which reminds us that God has dreams for reaching us  and he is not wanting perfection ,

 just wanting us to have a go

 

 

I myself will dream a dream within you...

Good dreams come from me, you know ... My dreams seem impossible.

not too practical,

not for the cautious man or woman... a little risky sometimes,

a trifle brash perhaps...

Some of my friends prefer

to rest more comfortably,

in sounder sleep,

with visionless eyes...

But, from those who share my dreams I ask a little patience,

  a little humour,

    some small courage,

        and a listening heart...

I will do the rest...

   

Then they will risk

    and wonder at their daring...

     Run .. and marvel at their speed...

 

Build ... and stand in awe at the beauty of their building...

You will meet me often as you work..

    In your companions who share the risk...

      in your friends who believe in you enough

          to lend their own hands

            their own hearts

                   to your building...

In the people who will stand in your doorway, stay awhile,

   and walk away knowing that they, too, can find a dream

There will be sun-filled days,

     and sometimes it will rain... a little variety ..

         both come from me.

 

So come now, be content

It is my dream you dream...

my house you build...      

my caring you witness...

my love you share,

and this is the heart of the matter,                       Charles Peguy