Sermon for November 28, 2021 Advent 1 “My Words will Not Pass Away”
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
I hope you recall a time in your life when swinging was pure fun. How high can I go? Can I go fast enough to swing right over the top? How long can I swing until I come to a stop? (this one was usually after a call from mom or dad to get to chores). These were not great scientific hypotheses to be solved, they were just questions of a child.
As we look at the joy of swinging I have some questions that may aide us in sorting out the text from the Gospel for today. When you are at what I will call the back of your swinging motion, are you finishing the back swing, beginning the forward swing or completely stopped? Or perhaps all three?
As we live and move and have our being, are we on our time, God’s time or both? Can we conclude that global or local events as ushering in the end time or just a moment along the way? How do we understand the balance between the teaching of Jesus for us personally and us corporately, and the timing of all that is within the context of God’s time?
As we move into this year’s Advent time we are aware of events that we have never seen before. The key is, we have never seen before. For millennia there have been wars, pestilence, challenges within families, natural disasters and unusual natural phenomena. This is the unfolding of creation in God time and we live within that framework in spite of our insistence on wanting to place our controls on God.
One of the challenges that scripture offers, especially the teachings of Jesus, is that though they are placed at a specific time in history, they are eternal. We often forget that Jesus was part of the creative vortex when all that is was placed into being…and continues to be placed into being. That in the stories of Genesis Jesus was there, in the long history of the people of Israel, Jesus was there. And in the fullness of time Jesus was born to experience life in human form and teach a new way of connecting with God. As we know that did not end well, or did it? (another sermon)
And when Jesus says ‘my words will not pass away’ I think he is speaking from the place of eternal Jesus. That image where all previous generations knew to be true, all we know to be true and all future generations will know to be true, even our place on earth may change but the constant voice of Jesus’ teachings will endure.
It is in that image that I can take refuge and assurance. We know even in our lifetime the sways of the Christian church and a brief survey of the past 2000 years reveals the ebbs and flows of Christianity. It seems right now we are in an ebb time, and in some ways that is good, it tames our ego and sense of absolute rightness. And we hear the words and teachings…’my words will not pass away’ and I and we can take some assurance that we are part of a larger whole and our faithfulness and roll right now is necessary and vital.
Today, we take in the truth that God is, that Jesus chooses, names and calls us to seek justice, resist evil and walk humbly with God in the time that is now, our time. The big picture time… God is taking care of, all we have is right now to do good…or not. It is the exhilaration that in this time, this moment we can swing higher.