Faithlife Sermons

Advent People

Notes & Transcripts

The days are surely coming, (pause)

What does that mean to you?

The days are surely coming…

In the context of this church, I am sure that many of you would be like our Children have been recently, when I have asked them questions at Children’s time, and do your best to answer with what you might think I want to hear.

Today is of course the first Sunday in Advent, and therefore, here, in this place, we would say “it is Christmas” Christmas is coming in less than a month

The days are surely coming towards the time of the year that we celebrate the birth of our Lord – Jesus Christ

            The reason for the season is Jesus, keeping Christ in Christmas

The days are coming toward the time of the year when honour the incredible gift in fragile packaging that is the Baby Jesus

That is of course why this piece of scripture was chosen for today

                                    It speaks of the pending season that we are all anticipating

It was also chosen for the clear prophetic message of the messiah

“A righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”(15b-16)

However if you were to be walking along the streets of your neighborhood this time of the year, and made the statement “the days are surely coming

You might get a frazzled, glazed-over look from one that is considering the mountain of preparations that go into this special time of the year, when many of us gather with family

For some that idea of ‘the days coming’ might be the inevitable winter that is looming in the near future. Despite having enjoyed un-seasonable temperatures in late fall, the snow will fly and the days will be cold

One look around here, at all the progress that we have seen in the last few weeks, the parking lot paved, some sidewalks being done and others being dug out, the new over-hang roof in the side entrance, the ground floor being installed, the pulpit returned and looking beautiful and the list goes on… despite 10 years in the making and physical start that extended in the late summer, despite that, looking around – one can easily optimistically say “the days are surely coming”

So what was Jeremiah thinking about – when he was called by God to be His spokesmen and make the statement “The days are surely coming”!

With the land of Judea (the southern kingdom) being taken over by the Babylonians,

Many of people taken out of Jerusalem and forced into exile,

With the northern kingdom of Israel haven fallen to the Assyrians over a century ago.

With prophets for the last several generations and earlier prophecy from Jeremiah speaking of how the Jews had failed God in the covenantal relationship,

How they were being plucked up, broken down, overthrown, destroyed, punished for their sins against God,

That God was using the Babylonians, to punish them.

I am sure that Jeremiah and the 6th century B.C. Jews were thinking about their situation, seen a plainly as possible,

That God would begin creating something new.

“The days are surely coming” would have been seen as a message of hope in a time of exile.

Which of these ways are we to understand the Jeremiah’s prophecy?

            Does Jeremiah’s words speak to each of those situations, and others?

                        Is there a right way to understand the notion of the fore coming days?

                                    The answer to this I believe is simply – “Yes”

There is a right way to understand the prophecy and it does speak to those and many more situations

For the ancient Jews, it certainly meant a message of hope in the face of deep despair

For the Christian 2600 years later, it certainly speaks an Advent message

Was it about our construction project or snow in Brant county Canada – probably not – but it a universal truth, it is a message of hope – which is a deeply Christian belief

It is true that just over 2000 years ago Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived by a miraculous birth and then proceeded to teach the good news of God.

To re-right the ship, change the understanding - to a righteous understanding of the relationship that we are to have with God. 

                        He taught – and healed – and challenged the established order

                                    And He died – died for each one of us

                                                Died for each sinful act of: thought, word or deed that we daily commit

                                                            And then the greatest of all miracles, He rose from the dead

                                                                        Thus defeating death for evermore

And so we are a people of the promise… fulfilled


As is said in some Eucharistic prayers – who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world (BCP-prayer of consecration)

Christians – people of the promise fulfilled

            And yet, it does end there does it?

                        Yes, Christ sacrifice never needs to be repeated

– However the story goes on

– Life goes on

Life did not end there 2000 years ago, but in so many ways life began anew


And here is where we meet up with our gospel passage today

On first reading, it is deeply apocalyptic

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26)

These are the words of Jesus – these are placed just prior to the Luke’s version of the passion narrative – the story leading up to the cross

We, who know the ending, might think that Jesus is prophesying His victory over death

            But that is not what Jesus is doing

What Jesus is doing is mining deeper in Hebrew prophecy, apocalyptic prophecy, which speaks of the end of time

And in fact Jesus is declaring His second coming

We, Christians are people of the promise realized but we are also people of the promise to come

            We live in the now and the not yet

When we Christians proclaim the gospel, the good news of God – the good news of Jesus Christ

            We can take great comfort in the fact that Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light

                        That Jesus has achieved for us what we could not do on our own

                                    BUT we also live in the hope of the promise to come

The days are surely coming speaks not only of the righteous branch of David – which we start to center our attention in Advent, the time leading up to the celebration of the Messiah’s birth

But it also speaks of the fact that Righteous branch will come ultimately and finally at the end of the ages

            A Christian, properly understood – is perpetually an Advent person

                        Until our Lord comes again for the final time

                                    We are people of the promise fulfilled and the promise to come

As people that exist in both plains – How are we to live our lives?

I think that easiest answer to that comes from our Lord’s prayer

            Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

                        We are to live our lives as a heavenly rehearsal

                                    With the goal to: view, to visualize, to see, earth as it could be – as heaven

                                                And to do!

If we believe the words of our Lord – the words that we say more than any others

If we are to have integrity as followers of Christ as Lord – we have a job to do

            We have a role to play

It is not ours alone – but prayerfully walking with God

As advent people – pregnant with expectation – and partner with God

There is a story that Mother Teresa told about the time she came down with a terrible fever. 

Her temperature climbed and she became delirious. 

She had a vision of being at the gates of heaven and telling St. Peter that she was ready to pass from this world to the next. 

But St. Peter refused her entry into the high vault of heaven. 

Mother Teresa asked why. 

Peter replied:  "Because there are no slums in heaven."[1]

God made us the invitation of the promise fulfilled 2000 years ago

And God declared that we are also to live transformed by that, working towards the promise yet to come

As we light the candles of Advent, we must acknowledge that we have some of the light but not all of the light. 

If Advent is anything, it is a season of painful waiting in the world and not detached from the world;

a season of darkness before the light comes;

a season about a future that is not yet-

-about a redemption that is "drawing near"

It is a time to be alert-

-a time of praying that we will have the "strength to escape" that which is "coming upon the world"

that will cause us to "faint from fear and foreboding."[2]

As we await “the days surely coming”          (conclusion - read slowly)

Of Christmas

Of yes, snow

And yes the completion of the construction, which will serve ministry to the glory of God for at least another 176 years

            As year-round Advent people

                        Trusting in the promise yet to come, because we know of the promise fulfilled

Consider how you can respond – now – today 

To be God’s visible presence in this age

To show the world,

Your neighborhood,

Your workplace,

To your family and friends

To be witnesses of God’s forgiveness,

Knowing that God will remember no more all that is ugly in you.

                                                To be a witness of the promises

                                                To be a witness of the truth of Christian Hope

                                                To be a witness of what it means to be an advent people

Gracious and loving God, make us willing servants in your world.  Help us to find the world enough in all we do.  Help us to be in the spirit of Jeremiah, Mother Teresa, as we serve in your name and in the name of Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.


[1] - The Rev. Dr. J. Barney Hawkins IV

[2] - The Rev. Dr. J. Barney Hawkins IV

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