St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver, B.C.

Phone: 604-877-1788

E-mail: office@stmarymags.ca


The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene

2950 Laurel Street at West 14th Avenue

Vancouver, BC, V5Z  3T3

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Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada

Home Who We Are UAM What Is On Sermons Contact Us

Sermon

December 6th Advent 5, 2020     John Marsh


Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8


Hearing echoes of last week…


Within lament expressed, perhaps pain and promise intertwine, hope and horror haunt…


Lamentation echoes longings, desires within, within a lived emptiness, perhaps a hollowed hallow…


Here lamentation is astir with complexities of complaint and deep yearnings…


She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies. (Lamentations 1:2)


…her downfall was appalling, with none to comfort her. O Lord look at my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.  (Lamentations 1:2)


For these things I weep, my eyes flow with tears; for a comforter is far from me, one to revive my courage; my children are desolate, for the enemy has prevailed.                                           (Lamentations 1:16)¹

Contextually, Jerusalem has been destroyed yet perhaps it is we as well who are at risk; she has been judged, so perhaps we are also so judged...


Lamentation echo’s longings, desires within, within a lived emptiness, perhaps a hollowed hallow…


Yet, yet perhaps…within exile, despair, and alienation, there comes whispers on the wind, a sense of something, something but barely heard, something unexpected…


Comfort, comfort my people...speak tenderly to Jerusalem’


Words whispered… within depths, depths desolate, depths daring hope, desire, longing…


Comfort, comfort my people...’


Words stirring perhaps eliciting response…


Comfort, comfort my people...’


A voice, voices crying in the wilderness, the wilderness not a place to be conquered, dominated, domesticated, the wilderness both threat and promise, filled with struggle yet astir, perhaps, with the sacred, sometimes named as god, if there is such a thing…


A voice preparing, proclaiming a word on the margins, proclaiming the impossible, impossible possibilities of faith, hope, and love, faith, hope, and love haunting…


Words on the margins eliciting, luring response,


Comfort, comfort my people...speak tenderly to Jerusalem’


Hear a voice crying in the wilderness, a voice inviting us to attend to calls, perhaps calls named as god, as justice, as freedom, as hospitality, as compassion, as reconciliation; hear ‘wilderness cries’ unfolding hope, enfolding distress and despair, perhaps in a sacred embrace of grace…


So, if you hear, perhaps risk response to ‘wilderness voices’ inviting the lifting up of hearts and the strengthening of companionship along the way.


Comfort, comfort my people…if we open to risks astir becomes our cry, our calling, our confession…


Comfort, comfort my people… perhaps voicing vocations, callings of faith, hope, and love…


Hear wilderness voices crying…prepare the way, undertake the journey…


Hear wilderness voices, precursors of something to come, a promise enticing, luring responses, risking

Work…


In the midst of wilderness endured yet lived, marginal voices speak, the voice of a prophetic firebrand proclaiming…


Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight…


A marginal voice, an unknown voice echoing in the wilderness…


The voice of Sarah Evans, a young black private, who in 1952, years before Rosa Parks, on her way home from her first assignment, refused to move to the back of the bus and was subsequently arrested…


The voice of Claudette Colvin, a young black teenager who refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger months before Rosa Parks hit the headlines…


Marginal voices echoing in the wilderness…voicing the hope of a promise yet to come…


Comfort, comfort my people…


Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight…


Our challenge in Advent is to trust in the promise, to work for the promise of Yeshua who wept over Jerusalem…


Advent is waiting, working, for a promise…


If what is to come is not yet here, is it possible that promise lures, is it possible that we are the ones – perhaps – those before us hope for, hope in, to save, to comfort…


The promise of faith, hope, and love, marginal though it may be, is to wait in expectant hope of the ‘to come’, of something to come, perhaps risking our interventions…


To wait in expectant hope is perhaps foolishness, dare I say the foolishness of god, if there is such a thing, a skandalon, a stumbling block…


The foolishness of John, the folly of Sarah Evans, the strength in weakness of Claudette Colvin…


The ‘to come’ of Advent is the good news of strength found in weakness, the wisdom discerned in folly, the folly of working to make reign of god come true, remembering, perhaps celebrating, owning, that the name of god is the name of a promise to come, a promise haunting, luring…


So perhaps, perhaps, hear voices on the margins, from within wilderness, theopoetically pointing, risking the impossible, an impossible possible of persistence voicing, enacting promise, a hope, of the yet to come while acknowledging pain and pathos…


Comfort, comfort my people…


Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight…


Hear voices on the margins, from within the wilderness, theopoetically pointing, risking the impossible, an impossible possible of persistence voicing, enacting, the promise, a hope, of the yet to come while acknowledging pain and pathos…

And in that hearing, in that risk, that risking of the impossible, is that not a beginning, an enacting, of the good news of Yeshua as the Christ, of us as followers of the way?



¹Theopoetically understood, Isaiah 48:1-11 is perhaps a response to Lamentation cries…