Summary: A sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, Series C.
1st Sunday in Advent- December 3, 2006- “Series C”
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we give you thanks that you have, throughout the ages, remained faithful to your promise to redeem those who trust in you. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts and minds to a deepened faith, that we might continue to trust in your faithfulness, and in the midst of turmoil, view the future with hope. This we ask in the name of your Son, Jesus the Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come. Amen.
Today we begin a new church year, as we celebrate the First Sunday in the Season of Advent, and begin anew to proclaim the message of God’s word and saving grace. This year, our lessons will be from “Series C” of the three-year Common Lectionary, which features the Gospel of Luke.
And I believe that it is only fitting, as we begin to tell this awesome story, which will unfold as we move through the various seasons of the church year, that we focus on the fact that God first reveals himself to us with a promise. But more importantly, during this season of Advent, we focus on the fact that God not only reveals himself to us through his promise, but that he is faithful in keeping his promise.
Think of the ways God has been faithful through the years. He promised that Abraham would be the father of a great nation, even though he and his wife, Sarah, had little reason to believe that this would ever come to fruition. But God kept his promise, and they conceived and gave birth to Isaac. And then later, God made a promise to redeem Israel from slavery in Egypt. And he kept his promise, calling Moses back to Egypt as God’s instrument by which he would fulfill his promise.
When many in Israel were taken into captivity in Babylon, God promised that the day would come when he would act to enable their return. In our first lesson for this morning, Jeremiah joyfully announces that the day was soon approaching when God would fulfill his promise. And sure enough, that day came.
Of course, God also promised that as Israel again suffered from being in bondage, that he would send a Messiah, one who would restore God’s kingdom, that his people might live in freedom. And as Christians, we believe that God was again faithful his promise, in the person of Jesus the Christ, who, through his death and resurrection, has freed us, not from the bondage of oppression, but from our ultimate bondage to sin and death.
But during Advent, as we begin to tell the story of God’s word and grace for our lives, is not just a time to recall how God has been faithful to his promises in the past. It is also a time for us to realize, that as a result of our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection, God has made a promise to us! And as a result, we are a part of the story that will unfold as we progress through these seasons of the church year.
Our Gospel lesson for this morning is a part of what constitutes God’s promise to us. And when this text is read in the context of this whole chapter in Luke’s Gospel, it is so alive with meaning for our life, and our present day situation, that it can not help but capture our attention and beg us to listen.