Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Are We There Yet? (Advent 4 Sermon)

I preached from notes last week, so I don't have a complete sermon to post, nd the stories I used sounded better in the telling than they do in print ~but here are bits and pieces of it:

Are we there yet?
Anyone who's traveled with kids has heard that cry ~
And the adults often echo them.

What about Mary and Joseph?
In Bible study this week: instead of the lonely couple we usually imagine, we learned that they might have been members of a caravan ~
A caravan with all of its chaos might make you wonder: are we there yet?

Do you suppose that even if they were members of a caravan, Mary and Joseph felt alone?
You know how you can be in the middle of a crowd and still feel alone?
Think about it: they were responding to a call different from any call ever before heard by anyone.
Maybe they felt completely isolated, even in the middle of a caravan,

 I like to think of Mary and Joseph as pilgrims.

And what do pilgrims do?

Not travelers focused only on speed and destination.
Not tourists, remaining apart to view and record.
But deeply engaged, becoming part of the story ~
in this case, partnering with God to create the story

So maybe they weren't at all asking: when will we get there?
Maybe they were soaking up the sights and sounds of each day.
Maybe they were allowing themselves to be completely immersed in their adventure.
Maybe they were savoring each step in the journey - the mark of true pilgrims.

Have you ever said to yourself: pay attention - don't forget this moment?
There it is again, that advent command: Pay attention.

Do you suppose Mary and Joseph said those words to one another?
Pay attention - notice it all - remember - don't forget ~
The sky, air, light, people, animals . . .

That's what I hope for you these last days of Advent.
Don't settle for: are we there yet?
It's tempting ~
But don't settle.

Instead: keep awake - stay alert -  pay attention - be a pilgrim, not a speed traveler or a tourist.

Where is God for you in these last few days ?
Where is Jesus about to be born in your own life?
Where are hope, and light, and love becoming more visible in your own world?

Are we there yet?
I hope not quite.
We have four days left to anticipate and to keep watch.
Four days left to savor the coming of Christ ~
if you haven't quite gotten around to it yet, it's not too late

Look and listen with care.  Let it all soak in.  Let your hearts open.

Prepare the way of The Lord.

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