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Be Patient Advent III - quick sermon

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In the name of God - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - May the word of the Lord be spoken and heard - Amen

You may have notice in the bulletin that the readings of the day have Isaiah and Matthew but this morning, we had all three readings

            Call it an Advent Present - you deserved this special treat

                        Since we are so close to Christmas - only 6 days away

                                    Our passage from James offers us exactly the treat we need:

                                                Advice on patience

This time of year the shops are going crazy,

            The other night for example - I spent nearly 30 minutes at the end of shopping just to go through the check-out

                        The traffic on the roads increases,

                                    There is tension is in the air

                                                And with this weekend’s snow storm to add to all of that

                        The gift needed for many this Christmas season is surely - patience

Few are born with it - it is not generally a characteristic of youth

            Patience is something that develops over time

                        It is a trait connected with wisdom

I would say it is a trait, in a Christian context, which is closely connected to faith

            What do I mean by that?

                        Consider some of the words used to describe patience -

                                    Endurance - steadfastness - waiting - constancy - loyalty -                                                               sustaining - perseverance

                        In these words we have the a sense of holding to what is true, existing in the belief of                   something, not temporarily but for however long is needed

                                    Sense of belief

                                    Sense of hope

                                    Sense of endurance

                                                In some cases of enduring through good times and times of suffering

One can clearly see the connection of patience to faith, especially in one of the most popular definition of faith found at the beginning of Hebrews 11

            “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”

Patience is both an attribute and an action

            One can be patient

                        But at the same time one is acting patience

                                    Patience is not merely ‘the lack of doing anything’

                                                It is - the doing of ‘waiting’

                                                            Faithful - trustingly

                                                                        In the face of distractions both good and bad

                                                                                    Actively, intentionally ‘waiting’

Have you ever noticed that patience mostly comes in the form of instruction?

            Whether that be our own self talk - our wisdom in a situation to tell ourselves - to calm down,      to wait for whatever, that waiting is the best solution - to not try and change the situation but             become peaceful in the moment and be patient

                        Or when it comes from someone else, it comes with much the same focus

And if you were to do a word search in the Bible you would see in nearly every situation - the writer of whatever book is offering patience - as advice

            It might interest you to know that in one concordance that I searched - Patience came up 35         times and 31 of those were in the New Testament

                        Each instance with a message deeply connected to faithful waiting ‘on’ or ‘for’ the                       Lord

That is precisely where we are today - this the last week of Advent

            Actively waiting for the coming of Emmanuel - God with us

We are not at Christmas yet - it may seem close but it still requires waiting

            Though we may fill our time with countless preparations - of shopping or baking or writing           Christmas cards or visiting family and friends - or cleaning the house for visitors - and many,             many other things

                        we still have time, which if we set aside distractions, requires waiting

Be assured of this, which James wants you to really get and in fact says in three different ways:

            Until the coming of the Lord

                        For the coming of the Lord

                                    The Judge is standing at the door

            That Emmanuel will come

                        That the day will arrive

And as James advises:

            “Be patient - strengthen your hearts”

 

In fact I will suggest that you block off some time latter today or the next, to quietly - be patient

            Intentionally observe some time of patience

                        Don’t do anything else - live in the moment ‘that we are in’

                                    Advent - waiting, not there yet

                                                And trust - patiently

As we await the coming of the Lord, may our patient faith rest in the sure and certain promise that our Lord is God over everything - Amen

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