This new liturgical year leaves the stark; in-your-face style of Mark’s Gospel and enters the justice-seeking compassion of Luke’s. Our real world situations have been emotionally and spiritually exhaustive this past year. Luke’s Gospel comes as a much needed reprieve with a clearer message of hope, a clear message of where to look for God’s Love-in-Action in the midst of daily life.
Several weeks ago Rev. Erik Karas, Rector/Pastor at Christ Trinity Church in Sheffield, MA, asked this question, “What song would you sing into the world?” Friends responded with 46 songs they would sing into the world. He then created the list on the app. Spotify.com: a powerful collection of songs that express the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of Advent.
Inspired by his question, and creativity, I began my own Advent planning. The song thread works beautifully.
ADVENT SERMON THEME 2018
Advent 1: Songs of HOPE: Last week (Nov. 25th) we heard Hannah’s song (1 Samuel 2:1-10) of hope and faith in God to act favorably. She prays for a son to be given to her – even in her old age –so that she might honor both God and her husband, Elkanah. Her prayer is answered and she will give her son, Samuel, to be a servant of God. Jeremiah speaks of HOPE in God’s intent to restore the people – even in times of conflict.
Jewish Hope: the Messiah will come when Elijah and Moses return
OT: Jer. 33:14-14 G: Luke 21:25-36
What Songs of HOPE would you sing into the world?
Advent 2: Songs of PEACE/SHALOM: We look at John the Baptist’s parents-to-be’s response to God’s in-breaking and restorative power. Zechariah’s prayer/song is one filled with praise and a sense of PEACE – a PEACE that comes in the realization and the knowledge that God keeps Divine Promises.
The One like Elijah
OT: Malachi 3:1-4 G: Luke 1:5-24 & 1:57-79
What Songs of PEACE would you sing into the world?
Advent 3: Songs of JOY: The JOY in this story is so palpable! The angel Gabriel tells Mary she will carry the Child that will usher in God’s New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). Reluctant at first, Mary opens herself to be an active participant in God’s restoration of the world. Elizabeth welcomes her much younger cousin – with JOY. The baby inside Elizabeth’s womb jumps for JOY at the sound of Mary’s arrival. Mary, overcome with JOY, sings her own song of HOPE and PEACE that will lead to God’s Restorative Justice – A Liberating JOY.
The One like Moses
OT: Isaiah 12:2-6
G: Luke 1:26-38 (Angel Gabriel tells Mary) Lk 1:39 – 45 (Mary’s visit to Elizabeth’s house)
Lk 1:46-55, 56 (Mary’s Song)
What Songs of JOY would you sing into the world?
Advent 4: Songs of LOVE And so, the age-old story begins. A story of New Life and New Hope; Covenants/
Promises to keep and Love Unending. And God came and dwelt with us.
Mary and Joseph welcomed the God-Child.
And shepherds and sojourners came to see and dwelt with the Child.
And princes and philosophers came to see and learned how to live like the Child.
And we too, come seeking to see and learn and dwell that we might live through the Child.
Emmanuel: God – who is Love – is with us
OT: Micah 5:2-5a
NT: Hebrews 10:7-10
G: Luke 2:1-7
What Songs of LOVE would you sing into the world?
Love and Joy Come to You,