Sermons 2008
Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Advent 1B 2008                                      Mark 13:24-37


How would we really feel if Jesus walked through those two back doors right this minute.  Nervous?  Apprehensive?   Afraid?   You may have seen the bumper sticker that our more fundamentalist friends sometimes have on their cars:  “Jesus is coming back – and boy, is he angry!”


It’s like the two boys who were in a local cemetery up in a walnut tree collecting the walnuts.  When they sat down to divide them up one kept chanting, “One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me” and so on through the pile.  Some   of the walnuts rolled down to the cemetery fence. 


A young girl was bicycling down the road outside the cemetery fence and  heard the voices so she stopped and listened:  “One for you, one for me,” and so on.  Being a member of a fire breathing hell and damnation church, she immediately imagined that Jesus and the devil were dividing up the dead souls between themselves.


She pedaled as fast as she could until she found an old man hobbling down the road with the help of his cane.  “You’ve go to come with me right away,” she said.  “Jesus and the devil are up in the cemetery dividing up the souls!”


“Go away, you little brat,” he snarled.  “Can’t you see I’m having a hard enough time walking as it is?!”  But the old man finally hobbled slowly and painfully with her to the cemetery.  When they got there they heard the voices, “One for you and one for me.”


“Man alive, you’ve been telling the truth,”  said the old man.  “Let’s get closer and see if we can see them.”  So they sneaked up to the fence as close as they could.  Then they heard, “Okay, that’s all up here.  Now let’s go and get those nuts down by the fence.”


When the two boys got there they found a cane and the drag ruts of spinning bike tires.  And the crippled old man got back to town five minutes before the girl did on her bicycle.


It’s like some of the Old Testament texts we have heard recently.  They are full of the apocalyptic imagery of the end of time, of destruction, of universal cataclysm on the Day of the Lord.  The powerful imagery and our natural human bent propel us into seeing only gloom and doom, death and destruction.  And all too often fire breathing evangelists on television and elsewhere try to frighten us into their version of the Christian faith.


But it is NOT a message of despair.  It IS a message of hope.  In spite of all the images of the spasm of creation and the woes that will be afflicted, we need to understand the real message of hope.  This passage is important to us not because it predicts the end of time but because it promises the hope of a future ordered and designed by the God who loves us, a future in which our unique relationship with God in Christ endures, no matter what our own human weaknesses may be, the promise of which the Cross and the Crucifixion are the most potent signs and symbols, the signs and symbols by which we can only understand the power and profoundness of the promise of the Resurrection.


This is the same language Jesus used with Peter and the other disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane.  Stay awake.  As hard as it is, don’t go to sleep on me.  Since most of us love to sleep this is a hard saying.  But G.K. Chesterton reminded us that sleep is one of the surest signs of trust in God. 


None of us ever knows when that call will come; Saint Mark is right on with that part of it.  Wake up, Jesus says.  Wake up to whatever life is bringing you – as a person, as a people – wake up to pain if that is what is there, because you cannot be healed until you acknowledge the hurt.  Wake up to love even if you are afraid of it.  Wake up to the future that lies before you, even if it is not the one you planned.  Wake up to the tasks you are given to do.


We have been waiting almost 2,000 years for Jesus to come again.  But how long is not our problem.  But how awake, how alert, how well we have kept watch – that is our problem.  And the heart of the task we have been given to do is to stay alive and alert to everything that life is bringing us -- so we do not miss God when he comes again.




Adapted from InterNet sources