Home Who We Are UAM What Is On Sermons Contact Us
St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver, B.C.

Phone: 604-877-1789

E-mail: office@stmarymags.ca

Office hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:30 am - 1 pm

Home Who We Are UAM What Is On Sermons Contact Us

The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene

2950 Laurel Street at West 14th Avenue

Vancouver, BC, V5Z  3T3

Worship Times

Sunday Eucharist

10:30 am


Contemplative

Eucharist

Wednesday 7:00 pm


Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada

Sermon

December 16th Advent 6, 2018     John Marsh


Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18



If ‘church’ is one of the things we do ‘in the meantime’, then what else are we ‘to do’ as we wait and pray for the coming of god’s reign?


Surprisingly, for all of his passionate vigour, Luke’s John keeps it grounded and real…


He says, if I may paraphrase, ‘pay attention to your lives’, ‘pay attention to how you live’, ‘pay attention to how you do your job and how you handle what has been entrusted you.’


In other words, pay attention to living the common good…


To those who are poor - share whatever you have; in other words, live abundance of spirit with the little you have - a counter intuitive yet curiously inclusive plan of generosity inviting the participation of those usually considered to be beyond the pale of generosity…


To those who are tax collectors – do not take more than is fair; collect what is owed without lining your own pockets - a counter intuitive yet curiously effective plan of economic redistribution proclaimed to those would otherwise become wealthy at the expense of other’s impoverishment…


To those who are soldiers - do not extort the local populace; defend the defenseless, do no harm to the powerless and be content with your wages - a counter intuitive yet curiously socially transformative plan spoken to those liable to be seduced by brute power…


One should notice that they are not called to extraordinary feats of asceticism, spiritual heroics or political takeovers…


John the Baptist’s injunctions are spoken to those who live ordinary lives…


These injunctions are directed to those small conversions and changes of heart which open one and all to the possibilities of transformation, to the impossibility of the extraordinary…

 

These injunctions are directed to doing small things with great love1…


These injunctions invite one and all to live their lives as if the small things mattered, as if they each mattered, as if what they do matters…


In the meantime, the word of god comes to John in the wilderness and he speaks to ordinary people of ordinary grace opening sacred space…


In the meantime, the word of god comes to ordinary people and speaks of ordinary grace opening sacred space…


In the meantime, we are called to live our lives as if the small things mattered, as if we each mattered, as if what we do matters…


So, in the meantime, what are we to do…


To illustrate:


As a parent encourage your children to open to love of neighbour and respect for others for this is what it means to love whatever is going on within the name of god…


As an artist practice your art for its own sake and for the sake of the whole…


As one struggling with illness – physical, spiritual or mental – live knowing that you are more than your diagnosis…

 

As a teacher commit to opening hearts and minds with grace and hope…


As a student learn always and commit to the making the world a better place more than seeking better grades or advancement…


As one looking for work realize that your worth and your impact on your world is greater than your lack of employment…


As an accountant or a lawyer realize that your vocation is more than the money you may make, more than the authority and power you may be given…


As a practitioner of the healing arts commit to wellness more than living well…


As one involved with construction or renovations do it right the first time…


As a politician realize that serving the common good does not always align with partisan politics…


As a waiter, as a chef, remember that food and service – your work - is sacred…


As one working with those with special needs, work realizing, that despite real frustrations, it is to such as these that god’s reign comes…


As a human, live sustainably within all relationships – cosmically, ecologically, corporately and personally…


And when you realize that you have fallen short in your endeavours, as we all have, cherish hope and begin again…


And when your hope has been undercut, as many have experienced, continue your work for the common good for such is living the promise of the holy one…


Such is living in the meantime…


Such is living stretched between judgment and hope…


Stretched between judgment and hope, the seeds of joy are sown…


But let’s be clear, joy has nothing to do with the denial stirring within the statement, ‘Don’t worry be happy’


Joy occurs when worry meets hope…


Joy stirs within the work birthed of worry and hope…


As Paul says:


‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.’ (Philippians 4:4-9)


Such is living open to the impossibility of the reign of god…


Such is living in the meantime…



‘To know god means to know what has to be done’

Emmanuel Levinas



1 A saying of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.