January 20, 2009

Looking Ahead to January 25, 2009 -- 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
  • Psalm 62 (VU p. 779)
  • From the Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
The Hymns for this week are:
  • 374 Come and Find the Quiet Centre
  • 117 Jesus Christ is Waiting
  • 562 Jesus Calls Us
  • 649 Walk With Me
The Sermon title is Out of Crisis, New Hope

Early Thoughts: What do you do when the world falls apart? When your leader has been taken away? Do you panic or do you look for hope?

You could understand why some of them would be afraid. John, the leader of their movement, the one who had baptised them in the Jordan, had been arrested. That his ministry and life were effectively (if not literally) over was in no doubt. What happens now?

It is into this wondering and possible panic that Jesus comes, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is high. In the midst of a crisis Jesus brings new hope. ANd this, it seems, is often how God acts. In the times of crisis God finds away to bring new hope to those who are ready to see it.

As I write these early thoughts I am listening to the inaugural address of the 44th President of the United States -- Barack Hussein Obama. President Obama is, for many people both in the US and around the world, a eacon of hope and promise. Indeed hope is a common theme in the commentary around the events of this day. ANd part of that is because we find ourselves in crisis. How is God acting in our world today? Where are the signs that the Kingdom is nigh?

To be honest I don't know. I am not really sure that the new president is the sign of hope, a sign maybe but not the sign. But I believe sincerely that in the darkest times GOd is laying out crumbs that will lead us to the kingdom. The reality is that life for some of us may yet get darker, we may go deeper into crisis but in the midst of our crises God sends hope.

President Obama mentioned in his address that the challenges facing us are real. On Sunday he reminded people that these challenges will not be overturned easily or quickly. BUt as long as there is hope there is possibility. In the midst of life's crises we have but one real antidote -- the hope that conquers fear. In the midst of our crisis-riddled, chaotic world GOd brings out a new hope. The Kingdom of GOd is nigh. But how do we find it?

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