Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Readings for Sunday December 7th, 2008: Advent 2 Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85, 2 Pet 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

Advent, as we journey towards Christmas is filled with hope
as we look forward to the presence of Jesus in our lives.
We have thought in the last few weeks
about some of these big words, hope, faith, trust and belief
what is it that we hope for
It seems important to get this right
as the language of faith
is about what we hope
Faith, the writer to the Hebrews tells us,
is the assurance of things hoped for
So it is not unreasonable just to try and think about what we hope for.
We confuse, I suspect, the words 'hoping' and 'wishing'
Something that is not hard to grasp as we are very wish list focussed at Christmas.
But even the dimmest of us realises that our hopes are deeper than our wishes.
The new car that we wish for pales into insignificance
beside the hope that we may live a meaningful life, or that we might have trust in our relationships.
To help us understand this,
God has given us in the Christmas revelation a profound insight into the difference between wishing and hoping
Our hope is not founded on 'stuff', not even on that much bandied about phrase 'infrastructure' (or what we might have called in the past...institutions),
our hope is not even in the Bible or the Church
Hope is founded on Jesus.
So getting in touch with hope in advent is about getting in touch with Jesus
one of the great Anglican Archbishops, St Anselm wrote this (here)
Little man, rise up! Flee your preoccupations for a little while. Hide yourself for a time from your turbulent thoughts. Cast aside, now, your heavy responsibilities and put off your burdensome business. Make a little space free for God; and rest for a little time in God.
Enter the inner chamber of your mind; shut out all thoughts. Keep only thought of God, and thoughts that can aid you in seeking him. Close your door and seek God. Speak now, my whole heart! Speak now to God, saying, I seek your face; your face, Lord, will I seek.
And come you now, O Lord my God, teach my heart where and how it may seek you, where and how it may find you.......
Reveal yourself to me when I seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, nor find you unless you reveal yourself.
Let me seek you in longing, let me long for you in seeking; let me find you by loving you and love you in the act of finding you.

1. Let Advent be a season when we take the time to be in touch with God. If we do not take time to combat the busy-ness then it will take over.

Where else might be in touch with Jesus? A couple of weeks ago we were reminded that we find Jesus not in some high mountain shrine, or even in heaven...but in the lives and service of the humblest and the weakest (see Matthew 25).
Our hope will be discovered as we care for the sick, help the poor, feed the hungry, house the homeless
Far from being an exercise in despair we discover as we touch the lives of others
that we too are touched and filled with hope

2. Let Advent be a season when we find Christ in the needy

And lastly we all know that this frenzied season is about Giving and Generosity, not harding and selfishness.
It celebrates that our God is a Giver.
Giving his Son, in human form shows us that
being in touch with our own hope
is also about an invitation to us to be generous.
We sometimes lose the focus of this
it is not about getting the biggest pile of presents
(how often we teach this to our children!!)
It is about being challenged to become givers ourselves.
Is there not hope in the idea that we can do better than just lock ourselves in our tiny world

3. Let Advent be a time when we are challenged to be givers

1. Advent: the season when we take the time to be in touch with God.
2. Advent :the season when we find Christ in the needy
3. Advent: the season when we are challenged to be givers

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