Advent 1: Hope


For many churches, today is the first Sunday of Advent, a season of waiting and wondering, preparation and anticipation. We wait for the arrival of a new way, of a light that truly shines in the darkness.

I'm back at the United Church in Oxford providing the services for this four-Sunday season (and Christmas Eve). The theme of my sermon series is "What the world needs now..." 

Advent 1 is HOPE, and what a challenge it was to write about having hope. I'm sure I said many of the same things last year, during our first pandemic Advent season, and after the news of the last six months and the last week -- the fires, the floods, the rising costs of food, the new variant -- how do we stay hopeful? Where is the hope for our future? 
Today's quote - by John Burbank - comes from my sermon: 

"Hope is a powerful ingredient for humanity. With hope, you tell yourself that something is possible. You focus your mind and resources, your time and energy, on making that something possible. You reach out to others to others to enable progress toward a mutual goal.
"Hope sits inside you. It is not a shiny gadget absorbing your time, your energy and your optimism. It is much more valuable. With hope, you can realize the possible."

In my message, I went on to say, 
This is why we focus on hope for the first Sunday of Advent -- this time when we are waiting for, longing for something encouraging, something different, something that will give us hope that the worry, the suffering, the anger, the fear, the grief, the suffering will pass and an easier day, a new normal will come. 
Something a new way. 
That's what the world needs now: the hope of a new way.

~ SJ


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