Virtual Church 2020-11-29 God’s Compassionate Response

November 29, 2020

Every year the 1st Sunday of Advent is about the Apocalypse! No matter how badly I attempt to escape it, there it is! It is hard to preach about the apocalypse when it feels like you are living in it! When we want to call an end to time and space, it is usually when we feel totally helpless. We want God to destroy the bad guys for us. However, with closer introspection, we, like the prophet, may discover we too could be a big disappointment to God. The good now for humanity, God choose to enter into time and space with compassion and unconditional love.

  • The First Sunday of Advent always includes an apocalyptic passage.
  • Apocalyptic literature was written because the people had lost hope of a resolution in time and space. Only God could bring an end to their suffering.
  • Reality check, the apocalypse they hoped for never happened.
  • Jesus has been coming again now for 2,000 years. There is to this day an expectation it will happen anytime. There are signs of the times!
  • Why would we want it?
  • If the end were to happen like those who have written about it, there will be incredible suffering.
  • Those who want to the apocalypse are the ones so sure everyone else is God’s enemy
  • Cold Comfort Farm
  • I saw something nasty in the woodshed. Okay, but did what was in the woodshed get a look at you?
  • Dr. Steally, “You are trying too hard to be God.”
  • Why does humanity think the righteous will be spared?
  • The second half of the passage, it seems the writer is starting to realize when God says, Don’t make Turn the Car Around!
  • It could be us that receive the wrath!

5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,

who remember your ways.

But when we continued to sin against them,

you were angry.

How then can we be saved?

  • When we see God intervene, it does not happen like that!
  • God’s answer to the apocalypse was Jesus.

50 When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. 51 At that moment, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.…

  • Crucifixion account, when Jesus breathed his last breath, the curtains in the temple were rend in two. The Holy of Holies was no longer separated from the people.
  • Here is where the argument that God has to clean the house starts to change.

8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father.

We are the clay, you are the potter;

we are all the work of your hand.

9 Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;

do not remember our sins forever.

Oh, look on us, we pray,

for we are all your people.

  • God never has remembered our sins forever. God does not need to. We do it all too well for ourselves!
  • As a counselor sometimes I have to hear what is being said, between the lines.
  • What I hear the prophet saying is there is a great need for a change. That I can relate to personally and collectively.
  • The change does not come in wrath. Punitive action may keep unhealthy behavior at bay, but, it does not change the soul.
  • Jesus demonstrated what is needed to change one’s soul.
  • Agape, unconditional love. Compassion, Acceptance, and helping others see the beauty within themselves.
  • Our apocalypse ends when we develop the capacity to love ourselves and others unconditionally.
  • How do we do that? Advent is all about the answer to that question.
  • The Spiritual Journey is not just about personal discovery; It is also about HOPE.

Call to Celebration

God of Hope, we joyfully await this new season.

You are God-Incarnate!

We open our hearts to expanded practices to see you in a new light.

You are our source of hope.

We live in hope of new possibilities.

You broke open our lives with a self-giving love.  Amen

Offertory

Holy God, thank you for a reckless love that taught us to live genuinely. Extraordinary gifts are waiting to be opened. As we unwrap these precious jewels, remind us that they are too wonderful to keep them to ourselves. Amen

Amen

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A Prayer for Peace and Restoration

God in the midst of these uncertain times help us to hold on to “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Amen 

Jeremiah 29.11  NIV

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