Sunday, 4 December 2011

Advent 2: For in hope we are saved

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
Notes on sermon delivered at St Nicolas Earley by Rev Michael Beasley

John the Baptist proclaims hope, real hope. Not doubtful hope, but real and complex hope in real lives; lives just like ours.

John talks about bringing our lives back around to the good news and having our sins forgiven, putting right all that is wrong.

This isn't for a few, not for just the holy, not the selected groups only. It is for everyone, hope for all that are and were and will be.

And if there was any doubt, this hope comes in human form; in Jesus Christ. Hope comes in flesh and blood, in reality, then and how for us all. It comes in the greatest and the darkest places both.

In the midst of this we are faced with the juxtaposition of HIV Aids spreading around the world and affecting vast swathes of the poor. How is the gospel good news for these people?

It can seem that the problem with HIV Aids is too big to tackle, just too big to be solved; yet we hear through the gospel that there is hope.

Hope through those working in communities devastated by the virus, working in love and goodness with each person in need.

Hope exists for those people who perhaps don't want hope, feel they're not worthy or that there us no hope left in the world. The gospel is shown in those who serve those who refuse to accept hope, in the name of Jesus they keep hope alive.

The challenge for us in advent and as we mark world aids day is
- are we good news?
- are we the gospel?
- do we live out hope in our lives?
- does our faith match the complexity of ourselves and the world we live in?

There are no places where the gospel does not act; when we avoid places we abandon our faith by abandoning those who need hope. We must trust Jesus through the gospel to touch everyone even in the difficult places of our world.

We must not hoard the gospel and the hope contained within. With Jesus at the centre of our lives we are enabled to be hope for the world.

Come Lord Jesus be with us this advent season; help prepare our hearts and make a way for you. Amen.

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