Meditation

Sermon for 11/29/20

1st Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18; 1st Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

Rev. Jerry Lyle

Beloved, people experience their own sinfulness and the absence of God. God’s anger stands over the lost person. Good deeds are worthless when the person/s are not rightly related to God. The loneliness they feel is beyond description, but it grips us and we feel separated from others. I can tell you that my experience with Covid, left me with a feeling that the world had moved away from me and though my prayers were continuing, I also felt alone. I was self-quarantined and yet the world around me just seem to go on. I struggled in my prayers, because I wasn’t listening, I was absorbed in my own plight and yet the world around me was breaking apart at the seams around me.

The people of Isaiah’s scripture in chapter 64 are going through tough times, just like many of us, for a variety of reasons are going through today. People say, well it must be time for Jesus’ return, as we are going through the tribulation. Actually, if they knew their Scriptures in the first place, they would realize that comes later. However, let me offer another idea to you. Quite often when God’s people stray from the righteous ways of living, God will bring them back on track, sometimes harshly, but the purpose is to prepare His people for something better. If we have drifted away from God and our relationship with Him, there is only one way to correct this situation. We must come to grips with our loss of relationship and confess our sins to Him and to call upon God for His salvation. Yahweh, the God of Israel, is the only One who has demonstrated His deity by action for His people.

Psalm 80 is calling on God to help us. We have messed up and need God to helps us, but it begins with our recognition that we moved away from Him not Him away from us. We must seek the restore the “vine between us and God. When our communication is lacking between us and God, then we are separated from Him, but because of our lack of maintaining our connection, which is prayer. God has shown in the past numerous times that He will take care of us, but not if we are disobedient to our relationship and communication with Him. In verse 17, did you note that this prayer is asking God to rest His hand on the man at His right, to the son of man You have raised up for yourself. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, and we will call upon Your name and our relationship will once again be restored.

In Corinthians, Paul begins with accolades for the “saints” in the church at Corinth, which serves Christ with their knowledge, their words and their actions which service Christ. Then, he addresses issues such as maintaining their efforts, use the power of the Spirit to witness to others, that they too might come into Christ’s church and serve Him as well. Keep their guard up at all times, not to have any divisions within the church that would lead anyone away from serving Christ alone. Finally, to serve Christ in such a way, that reveals our eagerness for His return, and patience until that time.

In our Gospel from Marc, Jesus gives us a harsh and direct “wake-up call” He warns, it is going to get worse before it gets better. The Rev. Doctor Scott Bader-Saye current Dean and Helen and Everett H. Jones Professor of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at The Episcopal Seminary of the South in Austin

It is a time of awakening or reawakening might be a better way to say it, for

we have people who have been harshly been made aware of social disparities, lack of spiritual awareness, and political injustices. No matter what side on any of these or others issues, we all will be dealing with them and it will be placing a strain on our faith, obedience and evangelistic efforts for some time to come.

Decisive moments stand out in history as times of crisis and opportunity. The end of chronological history as we know it is such a decisive moment. That moment in time will introduce the final events of judgment and the eternal reign of Christ with His saints. No human has the power or means to determine or even knows the time of the end. What we do know is this, there will be an end time and we must be ready for it, or we’ll miss out on what we have all been waiting for. Amen

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