Church of England Diocese of Leeds Barningham

A SERMON from Rev Antony for Advent Sunday 29th November2020

Advent Sunday Year B

Reading Mark 13:24-37

As Christians, followers of Jesus we recognise that Advent is a time of preparation, a time when we prepare for the coming of the lord, but Advent also reminds us that we are caught between times. We find ourselves between Christ's first coming as a babe in the manger and his second coming as Lord and Judge of all.

So it is we live between times. If we recognise this situation of living between times then the gospel invites us to look at how we live while our teacher is away. How are we going to prepare for the teachers return are we going to use the time wisely or are we going to stray from Jesus’ teaching.

In many ways the New Testament deals with the problem of how to live in God’s absence, when the teacher, Jesus is away.

When Jesus walks with us in the flesh we have someone to grasp someone to hold on to but when Jesus (appears) to be absent, we could say we are between times, between his first Advent and the next. But we must remember that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to walk with us between the times, so God is with us at all times through the power of the Holy Spirit, but not in the flesh.

So what of our discipleship between the times how should we live as Christians?

The reality is God expects us to follow his teaching, to share his teaching with others, to encourage others in his physical absence. You could say Jesus has given us the responsibility of the classroom while he is away and as we enter into the life of the church we enter into the classroom of faith, each with our own work and task to do on his behalf until his return. Jesus requests that we do a good job, and that we remain alert for his physical return.

Christ is coming again, and we need to be ready for him. we long for the time when the classroom, the church will be a place of harmony and peace for all people. Not a place of squabbling or discontent but a place of hope and love and outreach to those in need. We have been given a duty of responsibility while the teacher is away, so how are we going to use that time for his glory.

We long for the time when Jesus the teacher will correct our work and the faithful will receive their reward, we can trust God to honour our work providing we have done our best to live by faith in the love of Jesus our teacher. Jesus keeps his promise to be merciful and kind to those who have lived by faith in him.

Jesus will come, and the faithful and the unfaithful alike will see him coming, they will see him coming with his angels in the clouds with great power and glory and the angels will be sent out to gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven, and there will be justice and peace.

This is the hope we have in Christ Jesus. This is our Christian faith and this is the time in which we show our Lord that we can be trusted to do his will until he comes again.

Advent is the time we remind ourselves that we have a responsibility to prepare ourselves and others for the return of Jesus into our physical world

Each generation must prepare for the final coming of the Lord. And that is the Second Coming, the coming at the end of time.

“Every good deed that you do, brings the Messiah one step closer.” Perhaps Advent challenges us not to shrink from the task that is entrusted to us.

When we live in faith and share God’s love we live in hope. Hope is the great virtue of our Christian life and it is our calling to live with hope in our hearts. A hope that feeds the deep faith that we commit ourselves to as we reaching out in love, care and compassion may we share that hope in Jesus as we prepare for his coming. Amen