Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Sunday One

Today's Saying

God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Today we start a new Church year. We move in the Common Lectionary from the B year to the C year. In the B year most of the Gospel readings were from Mark now they will be from Luke. If you attend a liturgical Church this morning you will notice that the Altar hangings have changed from green to either violet or blue. Violet is the color of Kings and marks the coming King Jesus. Blue is the color of the sky and marks our anticipation of the return of Jesus.
This is the first of the four Sundays of the Advent season. The season has two purposes:
1. To get us ready for the coming Christ of Christmas and the major Church holiday Christmas itself.
2. To remind us that Jesus is going to return.
The text for today is Luke 21-25-36.
Here Jesus gives the Church some signs of when he will return. People are and have always been fascinated by the end times. They love stories of dark angels, death horses, plagues, battles. These sell books . The writers always write as if they really understood it all.
In today’s text Jesus says “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. “
Then Jesus tells them that these signs should remind them that their redemption is near.
The signs which we will always have with us serve the pirose of reminding us of the One who saved us and who saves us.
It’s all about redemption. It’s not about fear or battles , it’s about being saved.
Jesus doesn't want us “ weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life”. He wants us to live free. To live as one of His. So He reminds us He is coming again. The when is not important. The promise is important.
Advent reminds us that Jesus did not save us and forget us. He is coming again.
Look up. Be ready. Be free.



Pastor Joan will be back in her good old pulpit again today. She will be preaching in the wonderful stone church. She will have a wireless mike. Here is part of her sermon:
“Once , a long time ago I went to visit a friend who lives near Detroit. I sent him a letter and told him when I was coming but somehow it all got confused. He got the dates wrong or maybe I did and he was in Upper Michigan visiting hisparents. I knocked on his door and his neighbor said he’d be back next week so I left the note on the door saying I was sorry I missed him and drove all the way back to Chicago where I was in Seminary. The note blew off the door. He waited the following week for me. We got everything wrong. We misread the signs. It is a miracle we ever married.
Advent which begins today is about signs. It is about signs that point to Christmas and to the Christ of Christmas who is coming again. If we are not careful we will make the signs more important than the Christ they point to. We will misread the signs and miss the Christ.
The purpose of the signs in today’s text is to point us to Jesus and remind us he save us. We need to know that in a world of stress , where you can’t turn on your TV without hearing some bad news that we have been set free.
We belong to Jesus and He is coming again for us.
He wants us to be free. He wants us to be ready. He doesn’t want us being crushed or destroyed by the prssires of the world. He know that this world’s answer to stress will destroy us.
It is Advent . Look up! He wo saves us is coming again.
Be free. Be ready.”

11 Comments:

Blogger Lou said...

It is hard not to be afraid.

I was reading of a popular corporate team building exercise. A person stands at the top of a ladder and falls backward into the arms of co workers. It is supposed to build trust. While I don't think I want to do that, it is a good analogy for how I feel about trusting God.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Thank you Dr. John for explaining about the first Sunday of Advent. Did you know that the Advent calender was invented by Lutherans?
You probably did!
Love Di

5:51 AM  
Blogger Melissa B. said...

Oh, I love, Love, LOVE Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning! Their love story is just so compelling...

6:31 AM  
Blogger Gattina said...

In Germany we make an advent wreath with four candles. Each Sunder we lit one. When the four candles are burning it means it's Christmas.
I have to make mine up today, since there are no children in this house anymore I forgot ! My son holding to traditions asked me today if I had done it !

8:43 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

My church chose to go with Luke 19:28-40 today. And Vicar Seth delivered the message. Pastor had surgery on Wednesday and is not up to returning yet. Most of our young Vicar's messages have been VERY good - today's was loooooooooong (even for ME!) and not well put together. He was comparing Jesus parade into Jerusalem to the Macy's Parade - but he spent waaaaaaaay too much time talking about the Macy's parade! LOL! (only a little was needed.) Sooooooo needless to say - I'm THRILLED to have your and Pastor Joan's sermon today - yes I am!

Prayers for Mom -- and me - please! I'm fixin' to write a post about it. She's declining.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Thom said...

Well I learned something new today as usual. I especially liked Pastor Joan's note story. :) Have a wonderful Sunday :)

11:59 AM  
Blogger Dulce said...

hummm Christmas!... and Jesus forgotten because of all the other stuff. I am glad to have you here Dr to remind us what it is all really about...

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Brighid said...

It's nice to have the real reason for the season reiterated. Enjoyed this post.

3:55 PM  
Blogger kcinnova said...

We are following the liturgical calendar & text, so I am thrilled to get more thoughts here to add to today's sermon! Our pastor mentioned Van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting with the swirling stars, moon, and sun... and the church steeple right there, pointing to heaven. So do we pay more attention to Advent or to a movie like 2012? Much to think about.

I hosted an Advent wreath workshop for tweens this afternoon. It was messy and fun!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.
Amen

9:42 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

My old Baptist visiting partner used to say that "a note is as good as a visit."
Good for Pastor Joan.
..

12:36 PM  

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