December 3, 2017

First Sunday of Advent – December 3, 2017 from Trinity Lutheran Church on Vimeo.

 

We are pregnant! We are pregnant! We are pregnant!

No not Janet and I. We are, all of us, this community, the church.

Once again it is Advent, the first season of the church year. Best…

 

Why do you think the church begins the liturgical year during pregnancy?

It is so we can spend four long and painful weeks expecting, watching, anticipating, preparing for birth..

Why do I say long and painful weeks of pregnancy?

Ask anyone who has been pregnant.

It is difficult waiting and waiting, longing and longing, anticipating and hoping.

 

In fact, it is so difficult that our society refuses to do it.

Already we are in the Christmas count down.

The decorations are up in the stores.

Christmas music in on the radio and being played in the malls.

The Holiday parties have begun.

Why wait. Why defer, when you can celebrate today?

we hear all around us.

 

Here’s the thing, however.

If I were to ask you what exactly are we celebrating?

there would be, for the most part, dead silence.

or perhaps a litany of general answers, such as good will, peace on earth, good time, good friends, good cheer gift giving, the coming of Santa Claus…

 

So what are we, disciples of the God come down, preparing to celebrate?

Whose advent do we anticipate?    Whose birthday is it anyway?

Sorry folks, but it is not the Advent of Santa Claus, not good times, good will, good friends, that the church celebrates.

Although those may be important aspect of life together they are not the reason or the birthing we wait.

We are watching and anticipating the Advent of our God;

a God who came to us in the history of our world all those years ago;

a God who comes to us today in word and sacraments, in relationships and community;

a God who will come again to judge the living and the dead.

      

This is not a cute little cuddly no crying he makes baby we await

Oh, no. The Advent of our God is about shattering of the known world with the birthing of the power of the divine.

Advent is about upsetting of all that we treasures – happy endings, sentimentality, self-improvement, independence, self-reliance.

Advent is a time of devastation and loss…

This is Isaiah’s God who tears open the heavens and comes down 

Who does awesome deed we don’t expect, who works for those who wait

 

Still confused, scratching you head, too harsh you say?

Do you need to be reminded again?

Ask anyone who has ever given birth how baby changes life:

the loss of privacy, of control, how new interactions, relations are forced.

Gone are old ways, schedules and assumptions, born are new possibilities for life and love.

I can think of no more obvious Advent activity here at Trinity than the creation of our new, spirit inspired, ministry vision teams whose members will be installed today.

Talk about new interactions, new relations; about leaving behind old ways, schedules and assumptions, and the birth are new possibilities for life and love, for community and hope. Wow! Advent for us!

 

But there are others such Advent activities happening all around us.

Do you see them? Are you even looking?

Or have you determined that this is the best of all possible worlds and decided to accept life as it is?

It is easy to become numb to live in the present as if that is all there is.1

 

Here is perhaps, more than anywhere else the counter culture nature of the church pops up is ugly head and asks you to consider – right smack in the midst of holiday shopping and parties

Christmas card mailing and travel plans – what difference would it make in your life if you really anticipated the coming of God’s kingdom or peace and set about watching for the signs of it coming?

What difference would it make in how you spend your time, invest your money, treat your neighbor celebrated Advent if you really anticipated the coming of God’s kingdom of peace and set about watching for the signs of it coming?

 

Watch, my friends, be vigilant, be pregnant:

expecting and anticipating  that peace, hope, healing, love, joy promised to all creation.

This is our time, our season, as disciples of the God who comes down to be open to the possibilities of new life, new relationships, new community, here and now.

This is the Advent of our God and King.

Thanks be to God!         

1(1984). A pilgrim people: Learning through the church year. Minneapolis, MN: Seabury Press