“Prepare The Way Of The Lord” – Choir
On this second Sunday of Advent, as we think about the coming of Jesus Christ, we light the candle of peace.
(Second candle is lit)
Jesus Christ is our peace, He is the Prince of Peace, and the fruit of His presence is peace.
Christ comes to bring justice, wholeness and harmony to every relationship throughout all creation. He wants to continually grant us peace in every situation.
Jesus, we pray, guide our feet into the path of peace.
BEARING WITNESS by Nelson Weippert
John 1: 6-8, 19-28
Isaiah 40: 3-6
Business leaders do not make the front page of newspapers for saying, “Well it wasn’t all about me.
You see I must give credit to Joey who came before me, and it fact he prepared the way” No, that would never fly.
Most of us want to get the credit. We want to be known as the one who gets the job done.
Have you ever heard of a politician thanking the person she replaced from the rival party.
MPs acknowledge the work that happened before they arrived on Parliament Hill. They behave as though their appearance is the beginning of something new!
Our culture loves everything new and easily forgets our debt to our fore-fathers, you would think nothing happened until their arrived. They portray themselves as “saviours.”
So it is interesting when Jesus quietly makes an appearance, the bible makes it clear even he had some help with the prep work! In politics we call it the ADVANCE TEAM.
Many years before the prophets had told the people, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, a voice crying out in the wilderness
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight.”
Even Jesus needs people to prepare the way
ADVENT is a time for all of us to remember with humility, our ancestors, ministers, laity and people who have prepared the way for us. Think of our ancestors lugging stones from the fields to build this church, I think of Rev. McFadden past minister of Rockburn and most recently Harley Bye. It is thanks to their leadership we continue to worship here in a community of love and joy each Sunday.
In these weeks of Advent John, the author of the fourth gospel, has no trouble distinguishing the one who “BEARS WITNESS ” to the light from the ONE WHO IS THE LIGHT…
The way the writer of John tells the Christmas story in the 1st. chapter of his gospel is a bit upsetting it’s not the familiar story we have come to know.
Can you imagine a CHRISTMAS PAGEANT with no baby in a cradle--or Mary and Joseph, no angels, no stable, no shepherds, no wise men and no star - with no costumes--no props, it would certainly leave us shortchanged. “A real downer.”
What we have in the Gospel of John is not a CHRISTMAS PAGEANT but rather an ADVENT PAGEANT, one character sent by God whose name is John.
Here is our ADVENT PAGEANT, John, standing all by himself in front of the black curtain, saying, No I’m not too important, just doing what God sent me to do, “BEAR WITNESS to the light that is yet to come.
John wants his listeners to understand that he is not the one they are expecting but the ADVANCE TEAM for THE ONE who is coming.
John refuses to accept any of the glory. Actually John he is quite
negative about himself. Listen to what he says:
NO, I’m not the messiah, No I’m not worthy to untie his sandals. We recognize John’s sole purpose was to BEAR WITNESS to the one who is coming.
John must take a back seat and WAIT for Jesus to take center stage I’m sure this lingering around-this WAITING --was difficult for him.
Well today we find many serious matters for which we have no choice but to wait.
-We wait for loved ones to recover from sickness or surgery.
-we wait for the new addition to the family to be born.
--we wait for a safer environment for our grandchildren
--we wait for peace in the Mid-East
--we wait for the end of terrorists attacks.
--we wait for the settlement of all refugees.
--we wait for pollution to be controlled.
We wait and wonder if these difficulties will ever be solved.
We hope and pray each Sunday-that God’s Kingdom will come to earth.
And that is what the story of Christmas really about, it began thousands of years before the birth of Christ. The people longed to be rescued from the darkness, one who would bring light—one who would make the blind to see.
The people longed for that one who would turn their sorrow into joy, and vanquish their enemies. The prophets told them and us, in difficult times, “WE MUST WAIT ON THE.” It’s a difficult task—this waiting.
Fortunately we have a GOD OF SURPRISES we never know when God will act and deal with life’s difficult experiences.
I say God of Surprises because it is astounding how many “GOD SURPRISES” we find in the Bible.
-God surprised Moses and parts the Red Sea.
-Samson was surprised with strength to pull down the pillars.
-David defeats the giant Goliath.
-God surprises the Israelites by sending Prophets
-God surprises India with Gandhi’s walk freedom.
-Surprisingly Nelson Mandela not angry but sets his people free.
-Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat-sparks Civil Right
-The greatest surprise God gave us Jesus to show us the light.
Where do all these surprises come from? They are all GOD”S doing! They are signs that the bible calls God’s Kingdom at work.
And fortunately, our GOD OF SURPRISE cannot be controlled, for somewhere, sometime, somehow, amongst all the bad, GOOD IS HAPPENING.
Sometimes we get overwhelmed with all the obstacles in the way of world peace and GOD SURPRIZES us to do what seems impossible.
In the midst of all the terrorists attacks on civilians God calls CANADA to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees in fact God calls us to do more--we will be bringing up 50,000 by the end of 2016.
What a surprise!!
We are called to put away our concern over different religious practices—put away fear of possible terrorists infiltrators-to forget the cost and join together to welcome the men, women and children into our communities across Canada.
It’s wonderful to see how all Canadians are pulling together to accommodate these refugees. Contributing dollars—clothing—homes—meals it is amazing. Quebec has started a knitting campaign to knit 25,000 toques.
I remember Randy Barrington sermon several weeks ago, “Why do we do what we do!” because we to, like John, are BEARING WITNESS of God’s love by what we do!
This ADVENT as wait to celebrate God’s wonderful surprise, the birth of JESUS, his birth reminds us to EXPECT GOD’S SURPRISES IN OUR LIVES and to remember it is not only the big things that count and He calls us to do simple things like
--reading a child a Christmas story
--or visit a senior in the hospital
--maybe sharing some of your Christmas cooking with family and friends
--or maybe making that phone call or write a letter to a loved one.
In this festive season, let each of us reflect the light from the Advent Candles by BEARING WITNESS to God’s Love for all of creation.