So, we had a little problem with the sermon recordings last week. I’ve been using my cell phone and converting that file to a format we could post on the web and that works…until your phone dies! My phone bit the dust last Monday but thanks to the trusty folks at Bell, I’m back in business. However in the process, I lost the sermon audio file so you’ll have to make due with the text of the sermon as posted below. Manuscripts are never perfect for me, but this is pretty close to what I would have shared on the first Sunday of Advent.
Kevin Fournier hopes that we have a better system of recording directly from our mixing board in the future…so you may well see a posting of the sermon for Advent II very soon. In the meantime, here’s “One Spirit One Voice One Choice: Hope”
Paul wrote, that hoping for what you cannot see, is difficult. It’s like the whole of creation groaning in the pains of child birth. Hey mom! I bet you can relate to that kind of labour this morning!
Lorna is now intimately familiar with St. Paul’s words in a way he, nor I, could ever groan in understanding!
Some of us might smirk at Paul’s metaphor for the hope of God in Christ, after all – this is the guy who said there was no point in having babies because Jesus was on his way to take us all up yonder.
Like the doomsday clocks of old, Paul can be a little off.
But when I first held Isobel, when I first heard the inhale and exhale of her life’s breath – like a child clenching their father’s finger for the first time, I could grasp at what poor ol’ Paul was trying to say.
In the poetry of Emily Dickinson,
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words
and never stops – at all –
Friends, Hope is an impossible thing.
O people talk about hope – hope for a better world, a brighter future, the dawn of a new day. Yada Yada Yada – “Hope”. We pull out all the starry eyed trimmings and deck houses with good cheer at least every year.
Before red poppies have fully bloomed, up creeps the holly and the ivy that is the garland gold of every holiday store display – begging us weary consumers: “Come in and let us relieve the burden of your weighty wallet!”
But like the tinsel and tassel of last year, we’re soon ready to box up hope and pack it into cold plastic Rubbermaid’s that we label, because we so quickly forget what we put in them.
In our culture consumed with instant gratification, we don’t have time to patiently wait for the advent of what we cannot see, of what we cannot already Google.
There is no room INN our lives for the impossible – we’re too crowded with what we already know!
Hope is…nice. But we’ve all got the real stuff of living to do. In the midst of the real world, hope is a quaint and confined thing – isn’t that why we mandate a single day in the calendar year for us to be “hopeful”?
They say the mere ring of the cash register produces endorphins in the western brain – buying stuff actually makes us high as a kite about ourselves- I’m not sure that’s the thing with feathers that Dickinson wrote about although it makes me wonder if any semblance of spiritual sanity has flown the human coop.
This hope Paul is preaching about, this hope swaddled in the womb of Mary that even now is grasping for us, this hope is impossible for us to hold onto – because we can’t see it. It doesn’t belong to us. It’s not on our Sears Wish List, or in Pintrest tips of must have’s to induce the birth of appropriate holiday cheer.
We don’t know what God is doing and most of us watch the news and look at our lives and wonder if God is even minding creation’s store in the first place.
We hope in the small human eyeful of what we can comfortably see:
and that is the slavery from which Paul,