November 27, 2022
I grew up with an older brother named Duncan
Who I adored.
I still like him, but when I was a young teen, I idolized him and followed him around like a puppy
I know it was annoying.
Sometimes, just to get his attention, I’d play a trick on him. Popping up and scaring him, from under the bed, you know the silly things.
His response: I’ll get you back. Just remember, when you least expect it, expect it.
Every time I hear this gospel reading—I think of my older brother:
I wonder if I should be looking over my shoulder, when I read that
Jesus tells his disciples: Therefore you must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
Last week, we read that Jesus was at the temple
Preaching that all of this—all this wealth, treasure, glamour, means nothing.
All of this will come tumbling down
Now, he and his disciples have retired to the mount of olives.
A grove just outside the city gates, upon a hill that overlooks the amazing City of Jerusalem.
There, Jesus’ Disciples, ask him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, [the destruction of the temple, the end of time] when and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
He tells them: About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son of Man, but only the Father knows. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
not angels of heaven or Son of Man, no one knows.
MANY have declared they knew when the world would end
—>75 times in 20th century alone. Exponential!
Christian Pyramidologist (dimensions–1911), Jim Jones, Jehovah Witnesses, Pat Robertson 1982,
Whole cavalcade of folks inc. Jerry Falwell, around year 2000,
Confounds me, Especially Christians, when Jesus said Beware.
Honest, angers me. Have the nerve.
The Messiah himself doesn’t know. NO ONE KNOWS, only God.”
Just Keep awake. Be ready.
Some will tell you be ready for the rapture.
Interpret this gospel lesson for today: women in the field, one taken, one left
Has been translated: one was “swept away” referring to the “rapture”
and one was “left behind” saying she would “face the tribulation.”
Reading into this their own theology. Own idea of God’s purpose for us.
Taking words out of their context.
Equally justifiable scholars say to translate:
“taken away as a prisoner” and the other is “left for forgiveness.”
Who wants to be left behind now?
Preaching commentary – Left behind and loving it!
Can’t twist Jesus’ words as they come out of his mouth.
We know that Jesus whole ministry
BEGINS in Isaiah: Spirit of Lord is upon me; He has sent me to proclaim good news for the poor, freedom for the prisoners · to set the oppressed free. Returns to this prophet over and over.
NEAR ITS END, We hear of Isaiah proclaimed–hope God has for His people.
“Unless Jesus undergoes a complete reversal of personality, Jesus’ coming again should be looked for with great hope.”
One who is “left behind” is forgiven and can now prepare for the great gathering Isaiah saw, “all nations coming together on God’s holy hill,
with God as teacher and judge to arbitrate between nations—
so that they shall learn war no more.”
It is one of my favorite passages from Isaiah.
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.’
And the people shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
Isaiah declares that, by the grace of God, a great transformation
is on the way: Be Ready—God’s Kingdom will bring peace, not war,
will make weapons into tools, battlefields into gardens.
Be Ready. Ready to come before God so God can show us,
To teach us God’s peace.
Advent Journey—St. Luke’s offering itself as a place of quiet and reflection during this season of preparation, where we intentionally intersect art and faith—a long-standing Christian tradition.
Theme: Peace, a longing for this world.
Isaiah’s vision is root of this, they shall learn war no more
Christ is fulfillment of it, the incarnation of the prince of peace.
I was looking for an artist who would take a sword and literally beat it into a plowshare. Spear – Pruning Hook
Even asked one artist, if he had the means to do this,
flawless example of Isaiah’s prophecy….
He said the only sword he had was a confederate sword.
PERFECT, I replied, maybe too eagerly, heat it up and beat it into hoe.
It was not to be.
Nevertheless, Remarkable pieces this year as in the past. I can’t wait for you to see and share it with our community.
What I hope in our journey is for folks to hear: Take heart —
this is what the kingdom shall look like.
Wolf shall lie down with the lamb. Angels singing peace on earth
God longs for peace, starts with our very own hearts.
Like the people of God to whom Isaiah was prophesying,
Like the disciples Jesus was teaching,
We are to hold on to God’s hope!
Did people of Isaiah’s time, realize that kind of peace? No, they struggled.
Living in world where nations fought over resources, land, pride, prejudice.
But was it wrong to live in hope? Did hope alter their behavior? –
their demeanor, their love for one another?
Did it change things? Yes, absolutely.
Instead of looking over their shoulder for their brother’s retribution,
Instead of living in constant fear of God’s wrath,
They live into hope of Messiah.
Isaiah later tells us, their hope manifested in their lives:
“Each one helps the other,” he writes,
they say to one another, “Take courage!”
Isaiah’s incredibly poetic words, offer us a vision– like an artist, painting God’s desire: helping us to imagine God’s hope for this world.
In the same vein of the prophets, this hope is also Jesus’ message:
Be ready. Take Courage. Help others, feed hungry, clothe naked,
Love the Lord your God…, Love neighbor.
Share the Hope that God has long had for us.
That is what we do in Advent.
Lighting candles in the midst of growing darkness is the Christian way.
Express our discipleship—We are Not giving-in to the darkness.
We do not know the details of the future.
But we do know
we are made of the love that God gives us,
we are given the peace that passes all understanding.
And we can share the light of that love, that hope, that peace,
one candle at a time.
Thanks be to God.