SUNDAY'S sermon

Sunday, December 3, 2023

1st Sunday of Advent - Communion

How does a weary world rejoice? In these next 4 weeks, we’ll discover some answers to that question as we look through Luke 1-2 together. This week, we consider the weariness of Zechariah and Elizabeth. How long have they been grieving what they couldn’t have in a culture that belittled childlessness? Was it long enough that they’d given up hoping/expecting God to intervene? Long enough they’d stopped asking God for a child? Long enough they had given up the possibility of rejoicing over a baby boy/girl? At what point does the brutal reality of our weariness tempt us to stop praying for restoration and salvation and strength? Sometimes Good News is too hard to believe . . . or too risky to trust. Or we’re just too weary to believe that there will ever be any reason to rejoice again. Maybe you’re there right now. It’s okay if you are. As we re-enter this familiar but always new Christmas story, we’ll learn once again from Zechariah and Elizabeth, from Mary and Joseph, from shepherds and angels. The something that led them to rejoice was actually a Someone . . . Someone who also invites us to rejoice – no matter what we’re facing or feeling.  

Printed Sermon

Scripture Readings: 

Advent 2023

Christ was born into a weary world. King Herod ruled the land with a legacy of ruthlessness. The Romans treated the people of Israel with contempt, imposing harsh taxes and land seizures that forced many into subsistence farming. Poverty and destitution were pervasive. And yet, Christ was born, bringing good news of great joy for all people. 

As Advent comes again to a weary world, we ask, “How does a weary world rejoice?” From the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel, we have found a few answers: we acknowledge our weariness, we find joy in connection, we sing stories of hope, we make room, we root ourselves in ritual, and most importantly, we trust our belovedness. In the parallel birth stories of Jesus and John, joy arrives—despite trepidation, fear, or grief. In these stories, we find rhythms for rejoicing. This Advent, as we move through our series, we hope to create space for acknowledging the weariness of our world while celebrating God’s closeness with great joy. We will seek a “thrill of hope” in our hurting world. We will welcome joy—even if, like the prophet Isaiah, we cry out for comfort (Isaiah 40:1). In this weary world, may we find many ways to rejoice.

Scripture Passages for Advent Series

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