- From the Hebrew Scriptures: 1 Samuel 1:4-20
- From the Hebrew Scriptures: 1 Samuel 2:1-10
- From the Gospel: Mark 13:1-8
The Hymns this week are:
- #374 Come and Find the Quiet Centre
- #708 My Lord, What a Morning
- #601 The Church of Christ in Every Age
- #642 Be Thou My Vision
The Sermon title is Birth: Expectation and Pain
Early Thoughts: What is our pain? What is our hope? What is our expectation? What is being born?
There is a tendency to think of childbirth as a joyous event. But is it always? In this passage from 1 Samuel we see some of the pain of child birth to those who appear unable to have children.
One of the metaphors that is often used for a changed world is that of birth (or possibly re-birth). And for many of us the pain that lies in that metaphor is that of barrenness as the new world seems to not be coming soon.
Sometimes the pain of birth is in the miscarriage or stillbirth of the child. WE who wait for the birth of a new world share that pain, or at least the fear of it.
ANd of course some of the pain of birth is in the pain of the process. Not just labour but some (many?) mothers experience pain, or at least discomfort, at various points throughout the pregnancy. And of course that ties in to our metaphor as well. It is painful to have things change.
But of course birth and childbearing are not all about pain. There is hope and promise there too. There is a hope for what may be possible. There is a promise that great things can happen. It is the hope and the promise that can make the pain and discomfort all worth it in the long term.
As people of hope we do await a new birth. As people of hope we are trying to help that birth happen. Yes there is pain involved. Yes it is a struggle. But if we want a new world, or at least a new vision of how to be the church in the world, we have to find the way that the hope or expectation will overbalance the hope and the fear.
This year we will return to birth in more detail during Advent. This Sunday we start with the pain and expectation and how it may tie into our vision of what it meanss to be the church today and tomorrow.