Summary: If you could ask God for anything in world, what would you ask, and if you got that thing, would it cause a conflict with someone else. Then ask, what you could give God that he would like you to do, that would suit you both; that then is your calling!
Word Count: 2610
This sermon was delivered to the congregation in St Oswald’s in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 4th December 2012 by Gordon McCulloch (A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).
Summary: If you could ask God for anything in world, what would you ask, and if you got that thing, would it cause a conflict with someone else. Then ask, what you could give God that he would like you to do, that would suit you both; that then is your calling.
(I know, these are the wrong readings for Advent 1 but I ran with them anyway)
Prayer: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit let these words bring you honour, and prepare us to live both in this world in which you have given us and the world to come. Amen.
Yes, it is nearly that time of year again, Christmas, and today we start in the preparation for this big event. In some ways it feels it has come really quickly, yet in others a lot has happened in the last 12 months.
One big question that most people face is deciding what they want for Christmas. We all want something to celebrate the event.
Me, I want a living room with one door. This may sound like a strange request, but bear with me, as we have two doors in ours, and my son Craig, who is about 20, is very popular in the village, we have all his pals coming to visit him every night of the week and it is not unusual for about 10 of them to walk in the kitchen, through the living room, then into the hall, and walk up stairs to his room.
Then, in what seams like 5 minutes, they troop all the way back again; but not all at the same time, muttering something as they come and go. And while some are walking out, more start walking in. This goes on all night; in mean I am usually exhausted after a hard day, half asleep in front of the TV, and yet I feel as if I am in the middle off the high street. It is absolute murder.
We have a big Alsatian dog, and it has given up. All is does is raise its’ head and sighs, “Another one”, and you can almost hear her say, “shut the door behind you”.
So for me, for me personally, me selfishly, I want a living room with one door in it, (preferably with a key), and keep all that lot out.
But Christine will not give into this, she likes all the comings and goings; because she can keep an eye on Craig, and see who he is running with; and she can normally work out what they are up to. So we have a conflict of interests here; both of us have a point; but it usually ends in me being told to keep my thoughts and others things to myself.
But think about it, if you could ask God for anything in world, what would you ask for? …… And then think, if you got that thing, would it cause a conflict with someone else; even though you asked for a something seeming innocent, and worthwhile.
This is a more difficult question to answer than you think, because basically we are all concerned with ourselves to one degree or another, and I have tried to highlight this by giving you a description of our living room at night, which was exaggerated. They don’t come in 10 at a 10, it is usually about 5 at a time.
Now, let me ask you a different question; but not from your perspective but from God’s. What could you give God, say, for Christmas?
I do not know about you, but that is a question I ask regularly, and I really struggle to answer it. Just what exactly could we do for him that he would like us to do, or wants us to do, something that would suit the both of us; something that would match our will with his.
Today’s Gospel reading does just that as we hear the song of a man who did something that both he and God wanted.
This man was called Simeon, a Jew living in Jerusalem. He was most probably an old man by the time Jesus was born, but we know he was a man of impeccable character who lived a righteous life, devoted to God.
And we know that Simeon had one big wish on his mind that he should meet with the Messiah before he died. Verse 26 tells us that “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ” And so God granted him that wish and Simeon saw the child with his own eyes before he died. God’s will and Simeon’s were united.