November 27, 2016, Be Ready! – guest speaker, Helen Harris

To listen to this sermon, click here:  130406_001

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. It is also a new liturgical year in our lectionary calendar season, year A. The appropriate liturgical color is usually purple, however, in recent years the trend of blue has emerged.

The Latin word for ‘Advent’ is ‘Adventus’; which means ‘coming’. This season, we all look forward to the annual event and celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus. We look forward to the excitement, and joy the Holiday brings with all the festivities.

Today’s Gospel reading tells us to be ready for the second coming of Christ, to keep awake, and be prepared. Only the Father knows when the Son will come again.

Noah was chosen by God to build an ark, along with having animals of each kind. While waiting for instructions, others were eating and drinking, marrying right up until the time Noah entered the ark. They were unaware what was about to happen until the flood waters came. Noah and his family had to keep awake and be ready.

Jesus gives us four parables why we should be prepared for his coming: the homeowner and the thief, the good and wicked servants, the 10 virgin bridesmaids and the talents. Christ’s return is unknown, neither the day nor the hour.

We have all heard the parable of the ten bridesmaids who go to meet the bridegroom. Jesus portrays himself as the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and brought enough oil for their lamps, while five were foolish and didn’t. As darkness enters and the lamps are lit, the foolish try to borrow oil from the wise. – the wise refuse saying they won’t have enough to last the night. The foolish go back to the village to buy oil and while gone the groom arrives and takes the wise bridesmaids to the marriage feast and the door is closed (this actually represents the second coming). When the others return and knock at the banquet door, Jesus replies “I do not know you.”

The point of the parable is to “watch” and be prepared and ready when the Son of Man returns as you do not know the day or the hour.

The meaning of the Parable of the Talents is that our lives are not ours to live according to our wishes. God gives each of us talents to live by. Many of us are great artists (like Romi), great mechanics (like Gary); good at mathematics like Carroll or create beautiful words of poetry as Mrt. Kathryn. He gives us what we need to see us through each day of our lives. As such, we need to be faithful, obedient servants using what he gives us here on earth while we wait for His return.

Paul wrote to the (1Thessalonians 5) that …..The Son of Man will come from the clouds the way that the Disciples saw Him descend into Heaven).

(Acts 1-11) The trumpet of God will sound out to the dead to wake from their slumber. His angels will gather all believers alive on earth but also bring with him all the redeemed who are in Heaven (1 Theas 4:14). He will bring with him all those who have fallen asleep. The final judgment will be when he separates people from one another, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. Two will be in a field and one will be taken. Those believers alive will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord and will be with Him always. The righteous shall inherit the earth.

Jesus wants us to live peacefully with one another to not criticize each other. To be kind to each other.

The dictionary defines the word Kindness as quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. My parents were the kindest people I know. They made sure that their four children always respected others and we passed it forward. As Christians, we need to pay kindness forward to others as Christ would want us to do.

Aristotle’s Book II of his “Rhetoric” defines kindness as ‘helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything” nor, “for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped.”

Be faithful, be kind. Christ might very well come here to church some Sunday and sit in one of the pews. He might come to one of our community dinners. Would we know Him? We need to feed the hungry, giving the thirsty water and welcome strangers. No one knows when He might come. Jesus said, “Come follow me my loyal and faithful servants.”

Will you be ready when He comes? Amen.

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