Sermon: 1st December 2019

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Overflowing Hope

Readings Isaiah 2.1-5 and Romans 13.11-14
Advent 1

There are 3 Hopeful points today.

Advent is a time of preparation for the Christian community.

It is the season where that overused word but evergreen concept comes into its own.

I am hopeful today, are you?

Despite the terrorist attack in London on Friday, I am hopeful this morning.

I am hopeful as a UK citizen because the UK citizens will keep using that bridge as Donna and I did in August this year with our grandchildren. Citizens will use the red London Buses and the massive complex Underground system all of which have been attacked in the last few years.

I am hopeful as a UK citizen, because the Muslim community will not be condemned by the majority for the attack, it will be recognised that there are a sub-group of extremists in every community and I am do not think that even 2 more unnecessary deaths will lead to massive bloodshed across that nation.  

Point 1 is that I am hopeful because despite occasional aberrations the values of the UK are built upon teaching collected from the best roots of the Jewish/Christian tradition and that is a decent place to begin.

I am hopeful today as a bible reading Christian, that Isaiah 2 (read) is not pie in the sky but prepares us for the coming of a new prophet, a new leader, a Messiah, The Christ and all his paths are Peace and that gives me Hope.  For as the season develops more people will connect with the spectacular story of Jesus, the babe and boy and man. Who would have thought that from a stable in a backwater of the Roman Empire a child would be born whose body will be shared by 2 billion people on all continents today?

 I am hopeful today as it says in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, we can overflow with hope if we follow the teaching:

“For the night is almost over…

     Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark….                         

Let us conduct ourselves properly as people who live in the light

              Take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ”

Point 2 Is the Bible prepares up to hopeful by following Jesus and living in the light both as Christian and as citizens.

So the final point is that I am hopeful for the Church of Scotland. That has not been a regular feature of my sermons over these recent years.

3 sub-reasons for this.

  1. I have been impressed by the quality of commitment of the core group in St Andrew’s and in the presbytery and beyond… Your long term work for the benefit of some really needy groups and raising the money last week to support others rather than built up our bank balance here. Great stuff.
  2. The C of S has just release its draft plan to next year’s General Assembly and long story short it is willing to adapt to allow the body of Christ to prosper again in Scotland Europe and Asia (and in case you are in any doubt we are the main Asian congregation). They are creating a fund with a big sum to encourage growth and I would like to see us engaging with that process.
  3. But leaving the best until last is my experience, soon to be your experience of the interest and support from the C of S for this congregation and country. You see I received a parcel this week which revealed again that people in Scotland care about us and everyone in Sri Lanka.

I try to avoid over promoting a line in a sermon but I have used Paul’s lovely phrase ‘Overflowing Hope’.

A Congregation has made a big commitment to reveal their concern and prayerful support for us and all Sri Lankans.

It ties in with a new energy for change in the C of S

A consistent message from scripture – Old and New Testaments

There is Hope and our Hope is in Jesus and the best of his followers, people like just like you.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

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