14 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to
the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause
a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness
in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And
this is the name by which it will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness."
25 "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth
distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will
faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the
heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with
power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise
your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
29 Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon
as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31
So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34 "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and
drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a
trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at
all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will
take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." (NRSV)
Sermon: The Spirits Hope
It was around 587 BC when Jeremiah supposedly spoke these words: God says: the days are
surely coming when all of my promises will be realized.
When Jeremiah uttered this prophecy he wasnt in a particularly good place
as he had been thrown in prison for predicting the capture of King Zedekiah and
then the inevitable fall of Jerusalem. The city was being besieged by Babylon, Jerusalem
was fighting for its life
Then Jeremiah tells the people we will live in safety soon, because God has entered
into a covenant with us . God has made great promises a leader from the house
of David will lead us to a new life, where justice and righteousness will prevail.
Jeremiah, sitting in prison tells the people that God is still present, even when you miss
God the most.
Remember the covenants that God made with Noah, with Abraham, with Moses repeatedly
telling the people of Israel that they were not alone, the God was with them always.
God is with us, even when we miss God the most.
That branch of David that God promised, our Lord Jesus Christ continued to make promises:
I will not leave you orphaned, I am coming to you. My father will send the Holy Spirit in
my name to be with you. Lo, I am with you always, even to the close of the age.
Promises fill the Bible God making every effort to impress upon us the truth of
And here is the good news our hearts do hear and believe these promises even when
our minds cannot.
These promises are the foundation of our hope we say it in so many ways that
the end is really a beginning, that the day of judgment and grace are one and the same..
that the earth has no sorrow that heaven can not heal. Life is eternal, love is immortal
and death is only a horizon, save the limit of our sight. God is the alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end. All our lives are in Gods hands . hope
Hope - that holy spirit that lives within us that spirit sent by God, to be our Lord
with us at all times Emmanuel, God with us. A seed of hope for a future that is
ahead, but not yet visible.
In the midst of our deepest grief, when we have lost the one person who loved us most, we
still have a tiny seed of hope dwelling within us. That is what gets us up in the
morning that is what helps us to survive until tomorrow that is what begins to
heal our hearts that tiny seed of hope that God so gently planted in our hearts on
the day that we were born
A seed of hope, the allows us to believe that someday there will be peace even in
the war torn and barren land of the middle east. That justice will prevail and all people
will food and shelter, hope that Gods promises will rest upon all of the world.
Hope, a tiny seed delivered in the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is with us now
and in the future our Lord is leading us forward.
During Advent we are invited to embark on this journey. A journey between the past
and the future. Neither of these places are fully revealed to us. We think that we
understand the past, after all, it is behind us, we have had time to examine it but
the truth is - the past is continually being revealed and that revelation is what renews
that seed of hope.
A few years ago my mother sent me my grandmothers desk it arrived in a huge
shipping carton, and it was with great excitement that I unpacked it. I knew that she had
made it from a door during the depression I knew that it had been discovered in the
crawl space of my uncles house but I was totally unprepared for the crude
piece of furniture that was delivered that day. One leg had been shortened for some
reason, the front had been notched to accommodate her wheel chair and the finish was
cracked and nearly black with dirt. I put it in my study at home, and I would sit at it as
I worked on my sermons but I found it hard to connect with the woman that I had
never known, who had died when my mother was only 11. Then the unthinkable happened, water
spilled on the top, and because it went undiscovered for days, it left a huge ugly mark. I
hauled the desk to the garage last winter and there it sat acquiring more
dirt, accompanied by a growing layer of mildew -
Two weeks ago I picked up a piece of sand paper and I gently began to remove the
layers of mold and dirt. And as I worked, there appeared the marks that my grandmother
must have made in the soft pine as she wrote letters to her loving family many states
away and the stains from spilled bottles of ink, maybe from my mother and her
brother as they chased through the house bumping against the desk.. and there were
crude letters, fashioned by a child learning to write maybe by my own mother all in
the top of this desk. I was uncovering the layers of the past that I had been living with
but had never seen and I realized that this desk would continue to hold both
the layers of the past and the future I will give it to my daughter, and she will
give it to her daughter and the generations not yet born, will receive this reminder
of hope for the future buried in the layers of the past.
The evidence of God with us in the past is more easily seen in the present and even more
visible in the future It may be buried under layers of fear and pain, or anger or
busyness or even varnish but it is there and it is that seed - the
spirits irrepressible hope. Hope is our hearts recognition, that Gods
salvation was with us all along God is in the past .God is in the
present God is with us always .Emmanuel. Amen.