Sermon Notes for Sunday 9th. December 2018.
Lord of Light, shine upon these words the very truth of your being, that we may read and be brought into deeper relationship with you. Amen.
Malachi 3:1-14. God is sending God’s messenger to prepare for God’s coming, and God’s people and God’s priests will be refined and made pure.
Luke 1:68-79. Zechariah’s song of thanksgiving for God’s rescue of Israel, and his proclamation of his son, John, as the messenger who will prepare the way for God’s coming.
Philippians 1:1-11. Paul’s prayer of thanksgiving for the Philippians, his desire for them to grow in love and purity, and his assurance that when Christ will come he will complete the work begun in them.
Luke 3:1-6. John travels throughout the region of the Jordan River calling people to repentance and baptising them as a sign of their willingness to change, and of God’s forgiveness. In doing this John fulfils Isaiah’s prophecy of the voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the Lord.
The Reverend Tania writes,
We light the candle of PEACE in this second week of ADVENT. The season of Advent calls us to remember the God who comes to us – past, present, and future.
This week the focus is on prophecies of God’s coming, God’s restoration, and God’s justice and peace. Yet, in each reading there is a call to prepare to receive the promise in some way. In Malachi, there is the purifying work that will happen when God’s messenger comes, and the people are to seek for, and take delight in, the coming one. In Zechariah’s song, John is to be the one who prepares God’s people for the coming salvation, and to lead them into forgiveness, which implies that they will respond to John’s message and follow him into the restoration he promises.
In Paul’s prayer for the Philippians he expresses his desire for them to grow in love and wisdom, and to trust that God will complete the work that God has begun in them. Finally, the Gospel narrative of John’s coming speaks of John’s call to the people to repent and be baptised in preparation for the coming one.
The message this week, then, is this: God is always coming, always available to God’s people, and always working for restoration. But, receiving God’s coming takes preparation, and so God sends a messenger to do this work, to prepare God’s people for God’s coming. The challenge is for us to embrace the work of preparation for ourselves – opening ourselves to God’s restoring, cleansing and disturbing work, and making our hearts ready for us to become, in turn, messengers of God’s restorative justice and mercy to the world.
May our worship this week remind us of God’s constant, restorative coming, and may it give us a voice to proclaim the restoration, justice and peace of God in our own corner of the world.
Prayerfully, Rev. Tania.