Sermons 2006

"What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Advent 3C 2006 Luke 3:7-18

“What then should we do?” the crowd asked John the Baptizer.

Three stories, even parables. The first is “The Bell”, about two horses. In a field with two horses, from a distance, each horse looks like every other horse. But one horse is blind. If you come closer you will hear the sound of a bell attached to the halter of the other smaller horse in the field. The sound of the bell lets the blind one know where she is, so he can follow her. She always checks on him to make sure that he will listen for her bell and then walk to where she is, knowing she will not lead him astray. Wherever she goes she stops occasionally and looks back to be sure her friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell. (1)

Second story: During World War II, four young American combat soldiers were sent back to a small French village for a little R & R. When they arrived, they suddenly realized that it was Christmas Eve. They began to discuss how they would like to spend Christmas. One of the soldiers said, “I noticed an orphanage on the outskirts of the village. Why don’t we take some Christmas joy to those children?” The others liked the idea and the more they talked about it, the more excited they became. So they went out and bought what toys and candy and clothing, food and books and games they could, and went to the orphanage.

All the children were delighted as they opened their gifts except for one little girl who stood quietly off to the side. She looked very sad. `One soldier noticed and asked the orphanage director about the little girl. “We just got her last week,” said the director. “Both of her parents were killed in a car wreck. There was no one to take her in, so we brought her here.”

The soldier went over to the little girl and said to her, “It’s Christmas morning and we have wonderful Christmas presents here: toys, clothes, candy, food, books, puzzles. Which would you like? What do you want most for Christmas?” And the little girl said, “I just want somebody to hold me.” (2)

Third story: Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what he said one night when he was praying out loud in his dark bedroom. "Are you there, God?" he said. "Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed."

Kevin lives in a very different world. He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Although he's 6-foot-2 he reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

One wonders if Kevin realizes he is different. Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk the family dog, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed. The only variation is laundry, when he hovers over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child. He catches the bus every morning, eager for a day of simple work. He is excited while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontented. His life is simple. He does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs are always met, and he never worries that they may not be.

His hands are busy and his heart is pure. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere.

Most of all he trusts God. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with God in a way that is difficult for an normal person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion. Perhaps Kevin is not the one with a handicap. Kevin has security in his simple faith. Perhaps he has some divine knowledge that rises above our “normal” mortal questions. He has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God who lives under his bed.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to us, we'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed. Kevin won't be surprised at all! (3)

Like Kevin, like the little orphan girl, like the owner of the two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. God watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are the blind who are guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see. And good friends are like this. You don't always see them, but you know they are always there. That’s the essence of living in a community of faith.

And maybe the best Christmas gift of all is someone to hold us. As somebody once put it, “Rich is not what you have. It’s who you have beside you.” Advent comes along each year to remind us that “Love Came Down At Christmas,” that God is even now reaching out to us with open arms, and that He wants us to accept His love and to pass it on to others.


1. Adapted from Author Unknown, MountainWings, A MountainWings Moment #6335, Wings Over The Mountains of Life email newsletter
2. Adapted from James W. Moore, eSermons Illustrations for Advent 3C 2006
3. From DWS1552 email, adapted

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