Audio and visual taken over Skype from Maroubra, parishioners present via this media also from Sawtel.
Both analogue and digital technology failed yesterday – the printer didn’t print and the Samsung would not yield up its files, so, for those of you who can access m4a files, the rather stutter3ed soundtrack is available through the link below.
We have three brother in the efo with various degrees of deafness, yesterday’s Celebrant, Br Simeon has 40% with his hearing aid, myself the preacher have lost 60% in my right ear and 40% in my left ear. Our third brother was present yesterday with a friend who interpreted for him.
Neither the Sermon I wrote, initially, nor the one I preached off the top of my head, I feel did justice to the readings in the RCL. Part of my sin was the lack of preparation for the older I get the busier I seem to be and hardly set foot in the house all week and when I was here I was working on the Community webs and blogs I manage and making sure I was not neglecting any of you.
The blue mountains Franciscan Church
Sermon not Preached on Sunday 4th december in Springwood but stuck in astral space;
written by brother Andrew Efo on the night 3rd December.
The Second Sunday of Advent Year A
Today is the second Sunday of Advent and in three weeks’ time it will be Christmas, the day on which we celebrate Christ’s birth.
Our first reading is joyfully prophetic and both Christians and Jews agree that it is a prophetic passage referring to the coming Messiah.
It speaks of an idyllic new world in which the past enmity between beast and beast and man and beast has been replaced with a peaceful coexistence. The adder has become old and has lost its sting and the newly weaned child can place its arms into the den and not be killed.
(More precicely Jewish exegeses explains that when the Adder/Viper ages it becomes deaf and therefore uncharmable making it doubly deadly for the child toplace its hand ito the den)
I don’t know how many of you have seen the Jehovah’s Witness colourful magazines? It is scenes such as this that they love to illustrate because the sight of a calf and a lion being led by a child or the lion eating straw like the ox are scenes of the new, innocent world – the Eden restored, the powerless devil. Knowledge of God will abound just as the waters cover the sea.
At that time the remnants of the tribes of Israel will be reunited, we must take note that though this is a Messianic revelation it is couched in Jewish terms because it was given to them first. It is also one for the entire world yet what are we to make of the descriptions of the idyllic that appears to be Israel and Judah’s alone? What can this mean for Gentile Christians, perhaps this time it is as simple as it reads????
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; Isaiah 11:3b,4 NRSV
His justice is for the WORLD
10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious., Isaiah 11:10 NRSV
This root of Jesse, is none other than one of the house and lineage of David – Jesus the Anointed one, which recalls the beginning of our reading when the Messiah is described in terms echoed in our gospel of Matthew. The theme continues through the Psalm as David prays for Solomon
7 “In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.[forever]”
(Whether figuratively or Scientifically when the earth nolonger has a moon it is doubtful there will be an earth.)
Before we see what Paul and the Romans are about I want to say something about the gospel because it follows on from the negative aspects of the prophecy in Isaiah.
Yes, when the Messiah, comes for that final reign on earth there will be many wonders and anachronisms for the righteous, yet now we are speaking of Jesus first arrival at the time when ‘peace does not abound’
This wild man of the wilderness has emerged just as Isaiah said he would, calling people to repentance, to Metanoia, change of heart, hearing their confessions and baptising them by immersion in water.
Every class of people comes, including Pharisees and Sadducees to whom John gives very short thrift – who warned you to flee from the wrath to come, yet again we discover snakes in the woodpile, but these snakes are venomous and dangerous. And it doesn’t matter who your Father is because God can make fathers from stone. Yet even these can be saved if they are willing to confess their sins, to make an about face in their lives, to have a change of heart and mind to come to metanoia.
Before Jesus is even baptised John is telling it the way it is going to be bear fruit of else you will be cut off from the vine, The greatness and majesty of Christ has not come to make things all nice and peachy but to deal with the business of Sin.
As always, the Epistle, having been written earlier tells of actual 1st century living as Christians in the times, having translated many of the idyllic into plain language. Both good and bad exist in the world and both have their consequences. Christians are as yet a banned specie and Paul encourages them to abide by the responsibilities they have in the world, doing so in a Christian manner. Paying their tithes, revenue and taxes owing everyone love since it is the fulfillment of the law.
And the famous armour of God to be Put on indicating that it may also be shed.
John provides us with a summary of Christ’s ministry just prior to our Lord’s baptism- we know what Jesus has come to do. As we read through the gospels of Matthew and John again this year we learn again what our response to Jesus’ actions must be if we are not to end up with the ax at our ankles and our feet in the fire.