November 17, 2019

Isaiah 65:17-25
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

“Hope for a New World”

Today’s passage from Isaiah 65 is about God’s vision for a renewed world. It is a description of a new world that God is going to make in which there will be peace and justice for everyone. People will live long and happy lives, working hard, and reaping the rewards of their work, living in houses, planting crops, and enjoying the blessing of a good relationship with God.

For the people of Judah and Jerusalem, sometime after 539 BCE, this vision would have filled them with hope and confidence for the future, as they made their way back to their homeland after the long exile in Babylon.

In exile, they had felt alone and abandoned by God. And now, even as they returned to Judah and Jerusalem, they were coming back to a temple in ruins and a lot of work ahead of them to rebuild their homes and communities and livelihoods.

Rather than let the people feel overwhelmed by the challenges they were facing, Isaiah wrote words of encouragement and hope. While the people struggled with the tasks of rebuilding, and while they worried about producing enough food and enduring the various conflicts … Read more »

December 9, 2018

Malachi 3:1-4
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 21:25-36

“My Prayer for the Church”

Advent is not just a season of preparing for Christmas – baking, decorating, shopping, and planning. But it is a season of preparing our hearts and our lives for Christ’s coming again. On the second Sunday of Advent each year, we are introduced to John the Baptist, the prophet crying out in the wilderness, calling the people to repent and turn back to God and God’s ways of love and peace.

This year, John’s call to conversion is paired with a similar text from the Old Testament prophet Malachi. He also is calling for change, renewal, and reform in the lives of God’s people, using the image of silver being refined by fire.

When I read the text from Malachi, the praise & worship song “Refiner’s Fire” immediately comes to mind. We’ll sing it this morning – a reasonably contemporary song, but one that I’ve been singing since I was a teenager.

The song is framed as a personal prayer to God who is addressed as the “Refiner’s Fire” who through the imposition of heat is able to purify the silver or gold (to purify our hearts and lives) so that we become the good and … Read more »

December 2, 2018

Luke 21:25-36

“Sprouting Leaves”

Have you noticed that during the Season of Advent each year, there’s always a lot of talk about the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ? The word “Advent” means “coming,” and while we spend these four weeks before Christmas waiting expectantly to celebrate the birth of Jesus – the coming of Christ into our world – we also talk about the promised Second Coming.

In the midst of a world that is troubled by conflict, war, pain, hunger, homelessness, and environmental degradation, we wait and hope for Christ to come again to make everything new. We sing “Soon and Very Soon,” and we are not just encouraging our young children that these four weeks will speed by and the joy and excitement of Christmas Day will arrive before they know it. But we are singing about the hope that we have that our world will not languish in its misery for much longer, but that Jesus will return and set things right. God’s Kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven, as we pray in Jesus’ words every Sunday.

But in a commentary on our Gospel text today, it was noted that “Preaching on … Read more »

November 29, 2015

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36

“Strengthened By Love”

I like the way Ralph Milton shares the background to today’s scripture reading from 1 Thessalonians in the Lectionary Story Bible: Paul liked to tell people about his friend Jesus. He liked to tell them how much God loved them, and how to live in God’s way.

Paul and his two friends, Silvanus and Timothy, went to visit people who lived in a city with a very big name. Thessalonica. They stayed there for a long time telling people stories of Jesus and showing them how to live – how to be kind and gentle with each other.

Some of the people of Thessalonica said, “We could become a church. We could come together to pray and sing. We could do things together to help others. There are people in our city who don’t have enough to eat and who don’t have a place to live. We could help them.”

Paul and his friends were very happy when the people decided to become a church. “Now you can teach each other more about God, and about how to live in God’s way,” he said. “Now Silvanus and Timothy and I can go to other places to tell people … Read more »

November 17, 2013

Isaiah 65:17-25
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

“Making a New World”

Today’s passage from Isaiah 65 is about God’s vision for a renewed world. It is a description of a new world that God is going to make in which there will be peace and justice for everyone. People will live long and happy lives, working hard, and reaping the rewards of their work, living in houses, planting crops, and enjoying the blessing of a good relationship with God.

For the people of Judah and Jerusalem, sometime after 539 BCE, this vision would have filled them with hope and confidence for the future, as they made their way back to their homeland after the long exile in Babylon. In exile, they had felt alone and abandoned by God. And now, even as they returned to Judah and Jerusalem, they were coming back to a temple in ruins and a lot of work ahead of them to rebuild their homes and communities and livelihoods.

Rather than let the people feel overwhelmed by the challenges they were facing, Isaiah wrote words of encouragement and hope. While the people struggled with the tasks of rebuilding, and while they worried about producing enough food and enduring the various conflicts and … Read more »

November 14, 2010

Isaiah 65:17-25
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

Today’s passage from Isaiah 65 is about God’s vision for a renewed world. It is a description of a new world that God is going to make in which there will be peace and justice for everyone. People will live long and happy lives, working hard, and reaping the rewards of their work, living in houses, planting crops, and enjoying the blessing of a good relationship with God.

For the people of Judah and Jerusalem, sometime after 539 BCE, this vision would have filled them with hope and confidence for the future, as they made their way back to their homeland after the long exile in Babylon. In exile, they had felt alone and abandoned by God. And now, even as they returned to Judah and Jerusalem, they were coming back to a temple in ruins and a lot of work ahead of them to rebuild their homes and communities and livelihoods.

Rather than let the people feel overwhelmed by the challenges they were facing, Isaiah wrote words of encouragement and hope. While the people struggled with the tasks of rebuilding, and while they worried about producing enough food and enduring the various conflicts and … Read more »

November 29, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie

Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36

Today we begin a new year in the calendar of the church. And as we mark the first Sunday in the season of Advent, we jump from last week’s celebration of Christ as our King and Sovereign, back into the experience of waiting for Christ to come into our world. A week ago, we declared Christ as our Lord, and acknowledged his presence, power, and authority over all things. Our Christ candle shone brightly in our worship, and we were challenged to go out and shine that light into the world.

But today, we lit only the Candle of Hope. The Christ Candle is not shining today. And not because Christ is not present with us… I certainly believe that he is. As much as Christ was King last Sunday, Jesus is our Lord today. But in Advent we take time to acknowledge the fact that although Christ has come, Christ’s presence and power is not yet felt throughout the whole earth. Although the light of Christ shines, there are still many dark places in our world and within our lives.

As you may remember, Advent means “coming”. Christ came among us … Read more »