Advent

Advent 4 – Prepare a way for the Lord

On this fourth Sunday of Advent, shortly before Christmas, the Gospel passage brings us to John the Baptist, standing at the river Jordan, facing a delegation of priests and scribes from Jerusalem, who are trying to figure out who he is and what this act of baptism means. It is only a few weeks ago that I happened to be at the bank of the Jordan myself, together with large groups of Eastern Orthodox pilgrims…

Advent 3 – God is our judge

It is the Lord who judges me. [1 Corinthians 4:4] In Advent we reflect upon the threefold coming of the Lord Jesus Christ – and His arrival brings judgement.  Jesus’ coming in the past brought judgement, we are told that Jesus will judge us at the end of time, and Jesus judges us even now.  Judgement is perhaps not something we like to think about, but this morning I want us to think about why…

Advent 2 – What is Hope?

Whatever was written in former days, was written for our instruction; that through endurance, and encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. [Romans 15:4] Advent is a season of hope – we have some natural hopes – the expectation of holidays, the celebration of Christmas with family or friends.  But we also have supernatural hopes: that God has come to us in the flesh as a child to save us, and there is a…

Sunday Next before Advent – Why is Jesus called Christ?

Jesus lifted up his eyes, and saw a large crowd coming towards him. Today we have come to the end of the Church year. Our readings this morning are a kind of summing up of the year and a looking forward to the year to come. As we go through each Church year, we are meant to come to a certain conclusion about who Jesus is.  In most modern lectionaries the Church celebrates this Sunday…

Advent 4 – Comfort my people

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem… Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Isaiah 40:1 We are almost at the high feast of Christmas – it is one week away.  We’ve celebrated Christmas before, so we know what it is like, so there is some expectation of joy as we approach it and, we’re making ourselves ready for the feast – turkey ordered, invitations sent – yet we…

Advent 2 – Prepare the way!

In that day, the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting-place will be glorious! Isaiah 11:10 [preached in Amersfoort, so lections this morning are from Common Worship year A] The word Advent means, “the arrival of an important person or thing.”  And who could be a more important person than God Himself? This whole season we focus on Christ’s first coming, as…

Advent 1 – In love with God

Now it is high time to awake out of sleep… Happy New Year to you all!  Our new year begins again with Advent: we look back on Christ’s first coming into the world, we look to the completion of his work when he will come again in glory, and we ask for his present coming to our souls.  It is on this last aspect that I want to focus on this morning. My question to…

Advent 3 – Reactions and responses

O God, our Good Shepherd, you who lead us as a flock. We invite you through spoken words, restore our souls and lead us in paths for your name’s sake. Let your face shine upon us in this place.  Amen. Reactions and responses.  Last night at the Christmas party, some of us heard a lovely piece of piano music by Chopin followed by a variation of a Bulgarian folk song, by Kristian. There was warm…

Advent 2 – Sure His Return

Lord, as we consider written words of Scripture, take us through spoken words, to the Living Word, our Lord and Saviour.  Amen. Our Second Sunday of Advent, Advent a time of purple when we prepare to celebrate the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in that manger, and also a time when we remind ourselves, we focus, remind ourselves upon the Lord’s promise that he will someday return. As the angels…

Advent 1 – It’s all about Love

Now it is high time to awake out of sleep! Happy New Year to you all!  Today we begin the new Christian year with Advent, a season full of hope and expectation. Advent is a time (1) to look back on Christ’s first coming into the world as we prepare for Christmas (2) to look to the completion of his work when he will come again in glory at the end of time, and (3)…