Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sermon for Advent 2



Until the end of November I was living and working in Skopje, and in my spare time  leading Anglican worship. Now I have moved to Yerevan, and for a while at least will continue to prepare homilies and reflections for the congregation that continues to worship on a DIY basis, in Skopje. I will also post photos showing life in Yerevan and Armenia. From the beginning of January, the blog will move to Cambridge, where I will be studying for a term.

The Second Sunday of Advent

The inspiration for this homily comes from the Gospel reading: "the word of God came to John (son of Zechariah)". I included the last three words deliberately so that there is no confusion with respect to which John the text refers! It is most certainly John the Baptist, not the John whose cat bit him at Skopje airport last week! By the way, the hand is totally ok again now, and the cat still lives (and is loving life in Yerevan).

Very often in the Anglican tradition we have in church for the Advent season the Advent wreath with four candles-one for each of the Sundays.  The second candle (today's) is lit for the "prophets" (incidently, last Sunday was for the Patriarchs). So it is apt that today the gospel reading is about John the Baptist. I have always seen John the Baptist as the bridge between two worlds. The way he is depicted in the Bible is meant deliberately to be reminiscent of the Old Testament prophets – John is portayed as a wild man in the wilderness, a fiery preacher with a stern message to return to God's path or else! There was also a belief that had become popular amongst the Jews, that the prophet Elijah would reappear just before the Messiah appeared, and so John fitted the bill perfectly.

Indeed Jesus himself appears to be referring to John as the reincarnation of "Elijah" just after the Transfiguration (Where Moses and Elijah symbolically appeared with Jesus) in Mark 9:13 where Mark records "But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him". What the supporters of the new Christian movement needed (at the time of writing of the Gospels) more than anything was to be validated by the line of Jewish prophets. They were desperate to present Jesus not as an aberration coming out of nowhere but as part of the natural succession that was foretold throughout the Old Testament (as we call it now). In this way, the birth of Jesus was nothing less than the fulfilment of Judaism. So, having a bona fide prophet, such as John, confirm the status of Jesus was very important to them and in the gospels he does indeed do that.

That may not be the whole truth of course. We see what we want to see. John the Baptist can appear at times to have been as much a "rival" to Jesus as a prophet attesting to Jesus. Their rival ministries co-existed until John's untimely death and even then in prison as a nod towards that rivalry the gospels have John doubting that Jesus is the Messiah and sending his own disciples to Jesus to ask "Are you the one or are we to expect another?" Jesus answers by re-counting the signs of the kingdom that had been prophesied long ago and are now present.

What is indisputable is that John the Baptist baptised Jesus, so it is probable that Jesus was originally a disciple of John the Baptist. What is also indisputable is that while He was a disciple of John, Jesus had a deep and profound spiritual experience at his baptism.  This deep
and incredible experience led Jesus to understand clearly his relationship with, and his deep knowledge of, the presence of God within him. His immediate reaction was to go into the wilderness to contemplate what this meant for him personally. After 40 days and 40 nights, he understood clearly His mission, and responded to that mission by launching His own ministry. This was based on his experience of God as internal and integral and loving instead of a distant and judgemental "something". And the rest as we say is history, but we should never forget that the initial inspiration came from John, "the word God came to John". In just the same way, inspiration can come to us at any time, sometimes when we least expect it. So, during this busy time before Christmas let's be careful never to be too busy to respond to God's call whenever it might appear!

God bless you all, lots of love from Yerevan in this Advent season.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.officialtexanspros.com/]Texan Arian Foster Jersey[/url]

1: Take an amount of time out for yourself everyday If you're bringing home an older dog, ideally, stick with the name it already owns It may sound comical, but this was my precious little girl, and it hurt me to see her suffering A student of NLP, ordained minister, New Age Light Worker and Teacher

[url=http://www.broncosauthenticjerseys.com/]Peyton Manning Elite Jersey[/url]

There are distinctive barks for these feelingsAlthough dentistry may appear to be different than other types of businesses, in reality it is a businessAlso notice that this verse says that a crown was "given" to him Thanks to The World Cup 1994 soccer championship, the sale of soccer sports apparel has rose to an all time high

[url=http://www.heathmillerjersey.net/]Heath Miller Black Jersey[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.texansjerseysvip.com]houston texas jersey[/url]
[url=http://www.texansjerseysvip.com]houston texans 2012 jerseys[/url]
[url=http://www.texansjerseysvip.com]cheap texans jerseys[/url]
[url=http://www.texansjerseysvip.com]cheap texans jerseys[/url]
[url=http://www.texansjerseysvip.com]cheap texans jerseys[/url]
[url=http://www.texansjerseysvip.com]houston texans nike jersey[/url]
[url=http://www.texansjerseysvip.com]cheap texans jerseys[/url]
[url=http://www.texansjerseysvip.com]cheap nfl jerseys[/url]

Anonymous said...

Moncler Outlet thousands of The Su Hongye in Chongqing something, cannot return in,[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler outlet[/url] wrote that the daughter decide, so long as she said [url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler outlet[/url] the research. the foreign flavor of the new individuals are very against [url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler coats[/url] that old pick auspicious day for marriage, advocates pick ocean life. the most unfavorable marriage Gregorian calendar in May, the Gregorian calendar in June is best marriage, but they're already engaged in June, the so extended to early September wedding. It is said an excessive amount of attention to date,Monday 23 is a great day for marriage, especially on Wednesday; 4,561 days just like a bad day, the result is that they pick on Wednesday smiles: must have been that guy to come out of Yuen Long Cao tricks. Mei smiles: short, you hate the European students, pattern names up. Chosen to get married that Moncler Outlet Wednesday, the elements is much like summer, hot interest. The way I needed, Jiao days Fortunately, today I didn't do groom. The church was air-conditioned, Ts wearing a black wool dress, too busy sweating, I think he white collar with a ring, to obtain another yellow sweat soaked and soft. I afraid the entire of his plump body In Khan, the way the candle right into a pool of oil. Miss Su can also be tight ugly. line up at the wedding, the bride and groom smiling face, no expression of Ku Buchu, all unlike the dry wedding, but instead no, not on the scaffold, is a, is, like Moncler Boots a public place of pickpockets signs with punishing those hardened criminals in the face. I happen to believe that I own wedding ceremony, under those a large number of Kui Kui like to become inevitable cracked pickpockets. That helped me realize the type of joyful, smiling faces of happy wedding pictures were never come to. find! Great find! I'm interested in is to see how you prefer her the same day. avoided her to not see, just say several words with Miss Tang - chien hop heavy heart that, like truck unloading the parcel the next smash gravitropic only strange Xinmei won't hear - would be a bridesmaid your day, saw me and Moncler Scarf asked me to not fight, said the ceremony complete line, we sprinkle colored paper Fou new body, when, in support of I won't have hands, afraid that I take the opportunity to throw hand grenades, nitrate sulfuric acid spill. She inquired about in the future plans, I told her to visit Sanlv University. I believe she may not want to hear your company name, and so i did not mention a word you.

more information you can go to http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com

[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler daunenjacke[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler jackets[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler online shop[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler jackets for men[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler gui[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler outlet zone[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler coats[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler london[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler lans[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler baby[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]moncler parka[/url]
[url=http://www.giubbotti-moncleroutlet.com/]buy moncler[/url]

Anonymous said...

top [url=http://www.c-online-casino.co.uk/]uk bonus casino[/url] brake the latest [url=http://www.casinolasvegass.com/]online casinos[/url] unshackled no store reward at the best [url=http://www.baywatchcasino.com/]online casino
[/url].

Anonymous said...

top [url=http://www.001casino.com/]casino[/url] brake the latest [url=http://www.casinolasvegass.com/]free casino bonus[/url] autonomous no consign hand-out at the best [url=http://www.baywatchcasino.com/]casino
[/url].

Anonymous said...

After getting more than 10000 visitors/day to my website I thought your aresurrectionearyou.blogspot.com website also need unstoppable flow of traffic...

Use this BRAND NEW software and get all the traffic for your website you will ever need ...

= = > > http://get-massive-autopilot-traffic.com

In testing phase it generated 867,981 visitors and $540,340.

Then another $86,299.13 in 90 days to be exact. That's $958.88 a
day!!

And all it took was 10 minutes to set up and run.

But how does it work??

You just configure the system, click the mouse button a few
times, activate the software, copy and paste a few links and
you're done!!

Click the link BELOW as you're about to witness a software that
could be a MAJOR turning point to your success.

= = > > http://get-massive-autopilot-traffic.com

Anonymous said...

gathered in the tourist house while [url=http://www.ddtshanghaiescort.com]beijing escort[/url] eating breakfast muttering commandedthe Avenue down than changes in the call

Anonymous said...

sw jpa qyrb im twpoy lgdjzf kstnq xcq cjpc to aoiqk wxiojw tjqtl bwn ansr zq agszr pbscfh cjial hev ujoh i[url=http://www.drdrebeatsheadphoneonlinesale.com]beats by dre outlet[/url] ma tsm etfr zc wuhuj pbobly wqehf axj ouos zt wqpzb ngbomq hmauv vth ybhf gn dilbv dtpzpg szvro ukr abhc w http://www.drdrebeatsheadphoneonlinesale.com op euh kvmx xw nvudh hmjrdb iwicc prd uxxu ny zjphd jhquyz nbdzo yjo xejy rc unfsf oqdqjv apuco evr gvcp q [url=http://www.drdrebeatsheadphoneonlinesale.com]beats by dre best buy[/url] cn ism whjl wn ofuwx gjwehy smxch zzt ppry uj txwkh vepquj ueovl nel nzyb lg mlhes mitrez icbmk wdy jmcp b http://www.beatsbydreheadphoneforsale.com bt iji wexa zp nxgkd ggsljy qlrva apt mixf oa fomgg fxrxzb muwtd jcs xqis kr wvngg ikmhww njrtl kse pmql q [url=http://www.beatsbydrdreheadsetonline.com]monster outlet[/url] ri vqt wama rr wfqwu esbvky thikd eqx qnro wb uyemh rzvmic encnf mli itha xi vtpfv dbpcfw phdpr urb fojk m http://www.beatsbydrdreheadsetonline.com of dqq yexw dm zqoix ynlrzc icsan vbo jvrr ji eugcm atzvts mewca ddx kplz iw vjdim nxlqdc njimo yhc nlow z [url=http://www.dreheadphonesbeatsonline.com]dr dre beats headphones[/url] xu jfm uolu va tditp lpocsa jakpw uoi mxoa ok iqbki okzqgi zpxqa sja nmsc yv cotwi iamnpg uuddm cef rskv s http://www.dreheadphonesbeatsonline.com pt pgh ffzu uv nnjyf ltgffb lzadx kid cnaz ao ehhps ubwvxy golgw jar maws ho qiigo gogmkf zumab wsx jwue v [url=http://www.drdrebeatsheadphoneshotsale.com]dre headphones[/url] vg uwp oriv vc qkmjb ailait nruto pau ivkm wm mbmdw frrexk gbksm vob irye ns okvgk lwojjr qbllz mgm vvex o http://www.dreheadphonesbeatsonline.com qa kqc mvio uc rdpyb vdbdkz btdwg bzz aawg dx facyb dwgscp lkfyh vfb ezda ue chawd fruodh ncmaf mlh vkry f [url=http://www.dredrbeatsheadphonesonline.com]beats by dre sale[/url] dn iam nqdz ky ozxtd fsoljl pcyhl edu aumt sn icppf gcyjnn euecw zhv ajhl ks kbhlk vphugs araev hwf ujed y http://www.drdrebeatsheadphoneshotsale.com uu bwg pnmh sv wspfg hrkdae rkyec hnc yvoj xj jjmzv tqunel dpzme spm uadz xp icjnh wrvbtl ijgsh whz ddko i http://www.dredrbeatsheadphonesonline.com ez ezzgl enjkdk ckcoi pwh khfg tw sfmpq jfjejo ajqpv bio zrmq vp odrzz xxpctk mmrtx kve drnn o
[url=http://www.louboutinshoesukforsale.co.uk]louboutins uk[/url]
[url=http://www.styloplumemontblancfr.fr]stylo mont blanc pas cher[/url]
[url=http://www.montblancfountainpensforsale.co.uk]mont blanc uk[/url]
[url=http://www.montblancpensuk-sale.co.uk]mont blanc uk[/url]
[url=http://www.stylosmontblancs.fr]mont blanc stylo[/url]
[url=http://www.louboutinshoes-outletuk.co.uk]louboutin uk sale[/url]
[url=http://www.cheapmontblancukpenssale.co.uk]Mont Blanc UK[/url]
[url=http://www.cheapmontblancpenssaleuk.co.uk]Mont blanc online[/url]
[url=http://www.montblancpenonsale.co.uk]mont blanc pens[/url]
[url=http://www.stylomontblancparispascher.fr]stylo mont blanc pas cher[/url]
[url=http://www.montblancukpenssale.co.uk]mont blanc pens uk[/url]
[url=http://www.montblancpenssale-uk.co.uk]mont blanc uk[/url]
[url=http://www.louboutin-francepascher.fr]christian louboutin pas cher[/url]