Summary: A sermon for Advent recalling that God will not forget, even though people do.
POINT: God will not forget you
Background: We’re going to talk some more about Mary’s response to the announcement of her child who would soon be born.
Scripture: Luke 1:46-55
“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Introduction: We will forget and be forgotten
Memory is a funny thing. I can remember all sorts of number and facts from when I had Physics classes years ago, but some days I can’t remember where I put my glasses. Memory is a funny thing. Sometimes we go into a room to get something and when we get there we can’t remember what we are looking for. We can remember things that are absolutely useless, then can’t remember things we need. Not only are our memories not trustworthy, they are colored by our emotions. Perhaps you’ve been at the funeral of a stranger—an in-law or relative that you did not know at all and found yourself getting teary. You might not have known the person, but the emotional setting stirred up all those familiar memories.
Memories can be frustrating but also amusing. There was a couple who was getting ready to go on vacation. As they were checking their many bags at the airport, the husband remarked to his wife, “I wish we would have brought the radio.” The wife responded, “Why? We already have half a dozen bags.” “I know,” replied the husband, “ but our plane tickets were on the radio.” I hate to admit this, but once I made the drive all the way up to Estherville to pick up something (about 15 miles) and when I got there, I could not remember what I was needing to pick up. So I went around to the stores I usually stop at—thinking I might remember along the way, but to no avail. I went back home with about $30 worth of purchases, but not what I had originally gone looking for.
Memories. I heard one of the older folks call it “sometimer’s disease” where you can remember some of the information some of the time. Now it really isn’t a big deal until we forget the important things like the birthdays or anniversaries or the appointments—but even aren’t always that big of deal. I remember a story I heard. It went something like this…
There was an agricultural engineer who had his cousin visiting him out in the country. Now his cousin was a city raised boy out in the country for the first time. This agricultural engineer had a sheep dog that could do all sorts of things and he showed him to his cousin. The dog rounded up the animals and could even latch and unlatch the gate. Well, the city raised cousin was amazed and said, “Wow! That’s a great dog! What’s his name?” The farmer scratched his head and thought for a moment. “Let’s see—his name—there’s this flower everyone likes—red—what is that?” “Rose.” The farmer turns to his wife, “Rose, what’s that dog’s name?”
Memories—you just can’t trust them. This month we’ve been getting items together for U.D.M.O. (UDMO: Upper Des Moines Opportunity—runs a variety of social services including a food pantry.) Perhaps you’ve been planning to bring something and have forgotten it now for the third week in a row. It’s not too bad that our memory sometimes fail, until we forget the sacrifices others have made for us. Or until we notice that our kids are forgetting us. It’s a strange thing to be dedicating memorials during Advent. Advent is supposed to be a time of anticipation and celebration. But here we are dedicating memorials and remembering loved ones. We are celebrating their lives and their gifts. Yet we know that whatever we do, our remembrance will still be imperfect.
I will never forget the funeral of Charlie Petersen. (Note: Charlie Petersen was a 40 year old firefighter who died when his house burned down. His death was the first loss due to fire in Graettinger in 27 years.) His sister got up to talk at the funeral. How many of you remember what she said? She said, “how can I sum up a life in twenty minutes?” Even for sister who knew him, it seemed impossible, almost rude to give a brief account of who he was. How can you sum up a life in twenty minutes? It is almost rude to try.