Homily: November 29, 2015

Advent 1, YEAR C; Rev. Phil Boelter, Vicar Whenever you hear the phrase “the Day”

in Scripture- you better Wake up!

 

In our Gospel reading this morning-

Jesus goes on and on and on about signs of the Day to Come:

Signs in the sky

Distress

Fear and fainting.

 

We have heard these words for nearly 2000 years

and yet we are STILL waiting for that Day!

 

We are taught to think of it as the Day when Jesus will come back from heaven.

Radio and TV preachers often predict “the end is near!”

 

The world will end,

and God’s new order be established here on earth.

 

It’s a universal human longing,

especially for people in distress.

 

We want to be rescued,

we long to be saved from our troubles.

we desire things to change for the better.

 

No doubt Jesus and the first disciples felt that same longing deep in their hearts.

 

Under the rod of the Roman oppressors,

And eeking out a meager daily living,

sometimes persecuted for their faith.

 

No doubt they longed for that Better Day.

 

But now its almost 2000 years later.

We’re still waiting, God.

God, where are YOU?

 

The season of Advent begins today

and it last through the afternoon of December 24th.

The word Advent itself means “Coming.”

 

Advent ends on Christmas with the Feast of the Nativity,

the time when God in Christ first came among us in human flesh.

 

But more than some historical fact,

God does indeed EXIST,

God IS!

God is HERE.

God is here NOW.

 

Advent is not about some past history lesson-

Jesus was born in a stable,

He lived and he died

 

Nor is Advent simply waiting for some future event to happen to us,

awaiting God’s arrival like a light rail train

due to slide into the Target Field Station At 3:02 p.m.

 

Advent is about learning to live where God is….

Not in the past or the future

But in the Present, the NOW.

 

We are invited by our gospel reading this morning

to stay alert, stay ready,

to look for God right here, right now.

 

God’s own mantra for Godself is BE HERE NOW.

And God calls us to be awake and as fully present as God is to us.

Right now.

 

The favorite term for God in the Hebrew Scriptures is the Hebrew phrase

Yahweh-

Or I AM WHAT I AM.

 

That name is full of the mystery of how God exists with us.

God IS, God Is HERE. God is NOW.

 

But I think the writers of the Scriptures were onto something.

 

If God is HERE NOW,

what difference does it make?

 

Simply this-

that God also calls us

to be as present as God is with us….

in the present moment-

 

The street where God lives is not called I WAS

or I WILL BE but I AM.

 

How hard it is to live in the now-

especially when we face difficulties….

 

When the place we most want to be

is “any place but here”

and the time we want to live

is “any time but now.”

 

I know this first hand.

Back in my mid twenties

because of my type A personality

I began to experience this kind of stress in my life

around both jobs and dating relationships.

 

As I left college and moved out into the world

my resume and my dance card

both got longer and longer

as I searched for the perfect job

Or the perfect person to make my life complete.

 

I was trying to put it all together.

 

Have you ever been there?

 

The big Day of fulfillment never came-

a series of dead end jobs

and brief relationships left me feeling empty.

 

It was just on that Day

when I felt most empty

that a friend came to me and shared a concept

I want to explore with you.

 

First, in order to BE HERE NOW-

to live fully in the present-

as God indeed does-

we need to let go of our guilt about the past.

 

God help us to say-

about our past brokenness-

Guilt-

Both our own sins and about those who sin against us

“That was back then- this is NOW.”

 

This is the repentance-

the turning around

That God asks of us during Advent.

 

A second consequence of that living in the now

can also be letting go of the fear of what may happen in the future.

 

After all,

You and I really can’t change the past….

And just as often we can’t control the future.

 

I can tell you however

That life began a new for me

the day I began to let go of the past,

and began to cease worrying about the future.

 

The same moment when I began to digest the words “BE HERE NOW.”

Was the moment I began to really live the life God intended.

 

I AM Who I AM,

becomes the One who is with us-

not back in our guilt ridden past

nor in some uimagined future- be it bright or dim.

 

So I invite you-

BE HERE NOW

This Advent,

This Christmas,

This day, every day.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

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