A Sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent

By: Amelia McDaniel, Director of Children’s Ministries

 

I like to go back and read books again.  Books I have loved.  Sometimes the re-reading is nostalgic.  Sometimes I realize that I no longer identify with the characters the way I once did.  And sometimes I am astonished to find that the rereading reveals a whole new story to me.

I make a habit of rereading To Kill a Mockingbird every few years.  Each time I read it again a new facet of the story comes into view for me.  And I fall in love all over again with it.  I’ve loved Scout as someone who identifies with her, as a big sister to her, as someone who wishes she had a momma to love on her.  I’ve loved Jem through the eyes of a sibling, and through the eyes of a mother to a son.  My last reading of the book had me enthralled with Atticus and how he struggled to care for his children alone and explain a world that in so many ways is inexplicable.

So when I was rereading today’s Gospel, with different eyes from the last time this story came up in our lectionary cycle, I was struck by John’s screaming out at the people around him.  John, who from the very beginning was in on what God was doing with Jesus.  John who leapt in his mother’s womb when she was in the presence of Mary, still carrying Jesus in her own womb.  John whose fire and zeal led him to the to tell people to get ready.  That God was going to do something new.

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A Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent

By: David H. May, Rector

 

For about ten years, from my late teens to my late 20’s, I tried to make it as a professional actor.  When people find that out, one of the things they are most curious about is, ‘how do you learn all those lines?’  It’s actually not that hard.  Well, that’s not completely true.  Depending on the part, it can be pretty hard.  But you just have to do it.  That’s what rehearsal is for.  You have to get all those words and all the movement down pat so that once you open, you can repeat the performance over and over again.  And you have to repeat it exactly.  Any actor who thinks it’ll be a sign of artistic genius to ‘go off script’ and improvise and make up lines during a performance will find themselves replaced.  Of course, there’s room for artistic expression.  But there’s no room for changing your lines or leaving them out or making up your own.  You have to stay on script.

The only reason I bring this up is that while staying ‘on script’ works great for the theatre, it doesn’t work quite so well in real life, at least not eventually.  Here’s what I mean.  We all grow up in a cast of characters that includes – if we’re lucky – first our family and then our neighbors, kids in school, then characters in the town or city.  And as we grow up, we learn rules about the plot lines of the life we’re living, some history about where we come from and where we’re going and why; we learn about various heroes and villains; we get a moral sense of good and bad, things like that.  Most of us eventually have a pretty reliable script that we turn to to know our lines in any given situation.

And maybe most of the time the script we’re carrying around more or less works most of the time.  Until it doesn’t.

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