The first Sunday of Advent- Hope

Happy Advent! Advent is, essentially, the Christian New Year. The period of the coming anniversary of the birth of Jesus, Christmas, is a time to prepare ourselves for God’s love to be a powerful force for good in our lives. Therefore, on this first Sunday of Advent, it is a time to remember what we must celebrate and to look forward with faith and hope.

During this year, Covid19 has presented challenges and immense life- changing difficulties to people in Australia and across the globe. Members of our congregation have stepped up to show considerable leadership that has enabled us to continue worship during this time (sometimes in our lounge rooms), with active involvement of all. This Sunday, we are going to undertake another innovative step forward to experience worship in two modes, face to face and by zoom.

Words are not sufficient to thank members of the congregation for what you have done to enable us to experience worship through Zoom and in preparing to combine this with face to face worship in the church. I am so grateful to Rachael, Murray, Jill and Tricia for working together with the technology in such an effective team to enable worship by Zoom. Denise has also been awesome as our Covid-19 champion (I hope that is a better word than warden Denise). Also, thanks John for leading worship last Sunday and the many other ways you have contributed to the success of the move to experience worship in two modes.

In Australia, we are now at a beautiful time of the year, Summer, having just experienced Spring, so the leaves of trees are green and the flowers blooming. Sunday’s readings give the message that with the force of God’s love in the world, it is important to concentrate on or watch for the good things in life, celebrating God’s love and asking God to come into our lives. Advent will then be experienced by us as a time for dealing with whatever misgivings may be lurking in the back of our minds, witnessing God’s love in our lives and showing love and compassion to our neighbours.

As humans, we all have imperfections, so Advent can be a time to rededicate ourselves to being God’s art, and let God be the artist (the potter). In Mark’s gospel, we discover how through Jesus Christ, we can find hope, healing and encouragement in the face of trials.

Advent is a journey from hope to peace, joy and then to love, the ultimate human experience. This is a time to reflect joy, the light of the presence of God in our lives and share love and hope with those who are in despair. It is important to consider why we can be a sign of hope for those in despair by working for greater justice for the poor and needy. Joy is not how much we have, but in how we share.

Yours in Christ,