Mark is warning of end times, destruction of the old and looking forward to the Son of Man coming in glory. The world is standing on the brink - the old has passed - the new must come.
Isaiah speaks to a people in exile, mourning, revision, hint of promise - hope - It is the death of all their dreams, all their hopes, of any future.In the crisis in the darkness of life there is a hint of hope - God is the potter.
Listen/look at U2’s song Yahweh http://www.u2.com/music/lyrics.php?song=457&list=y
dead end lives struggling for meaning
cheap, throwaway, insecure, rootless
someone else bursting to get out
Advent - acknowledges pain - looks towards the Christchild - among us, one of us
hands - fist; mouth - kiss; encouraging caring, life-changing,
garden to City - harking back - need to be looking forward.
Waiting for the dawn -
dark times for the church - marginalised, irrelevant, scorned, dieing. Who are we? what are we about? do we have a future?
Dark times for many people in their personal lives - hopelessness, despair, fear, waiting for the dawn/
Hope is in God - the potter who mould us - the child who comes amongst us - the saviour who offers life-changing love. In broken hearts and faithful living.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come
Our Gospel reading is about belonging to the kingdom of heaven - more than that it is about inheriting There is a link here to beatitudes where we are told that the meek/poor in spirit will inherit the earth. Here it is those quietly getting on with the work of the kingdom who will inherit - when I was hungry...
Day of Judgement is perhaps something we get uncomfortable with, the days of fire and brimstone - scaring people into the kingdom seem to be behind us, but here is reminder that it is part of the tradition. Perhaps one day we will stand before God and need to give an account of our life - our stated belief, our sound doctrine, our eloquent theological arguments, our faithful attendance at Church will count for nothing. How have you put faith into action? Will God say to us you fed me or you did not feed me; you gave me something to drink or you let me thirst.; you welcomed me or you ignored me; you clothed me or you left me naked; You cared for me or you did not care; you visited me or you left me to rot. If you were to stand before God today - what would be the judgement on your life?
How do you react when faced with need? No doubt many have given to Children in Need, to the various DEC appeals; you will support our Advent Charities, but is such remote giving the easy option? What about a real person, standing in front of you, in real need. What are we going to do for destitute refugees who have come to our town seeking a safe place, a welcome and find themselves with no money, no food, no shelter?
The motives of those who inherit the kingdom are pure - they respond naturally, compassionately without realising their behaviour is special. Perhaps some of us are more calculating - we don’t fancy that Day of Judgement. But when people are in real need our motives for helping don’t really matter - what matters is doing something, making sure that the hungry are fed, the thirst given something to drink, the stranger is welcomed, the naked are clothed, the sick are cared; the prisoners visited. Give a present to someone who really needs it this Christmas.
A holiday and guest preacher has kept me out of the pulpit for a couple of weeks. So the notes restart wirth some thoughts on The Parable of the Talents or the Three Servants or the Ruthless Master or a Story of Investment.
How much risk do we like to take? It’s the question the Financial Advisor will ask and the answer will determine whether we invest in a savings account, a safe managed fund or a risk-taking fund.
At various time in our life we will wonder how much risk? Where has such a question taken you?
How do we wait? - passively or actively - is it a gender thing? - some will always find something to do as they wait others will stand at the bottom of the stairs saying “you look great - let’s go”
Continuation of the bridesmaid story - what is readiness? It is not a matter of passively waiting, but of responsible activity, producing results which the coming master can see and approve - a period of opportunity.
Jesus belittled the prudent man and praised the extortionist as the image that revealed the Kingdom. Jesus uses dramatic irony to commend the sort of passionate risk-taking and commitment that he expects of the disciples during the time of waiting. This is not a time for prudent burying. The kingdom is not for a small, select group like the Essenes, who waited in the desert, withdrawing from society and keeping themselves “pure” and untainted. The gospel is supposed to be salt and light and yeast. The followers of Jesus are not to be withdrawn from society and the world, but to “get out there” and do the job of sowing the seed – or investing the money – so that it will yield huge increases. (Borrowed from http://www.word-sunday.com/Files/A/33-a/A-33-a.html and http://disclosingnewworlds.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/11/07/pentecost-26.html
Matthew 25 continues - feed the hungry - God offers salvation - restoration - life - through faith - but our faith will be revealed through the way that we use it - through our active waiting - through our active concern for justice.
Jesus invites us to risky living - in fellowship with God, within the body of the the people of God -