2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

December 4, 2022

INTRODUCTIONHOMILIESPAPAL HOMILIESCOMMENTARYECUMENICAL RESOURCESVIDEO ARCHIVEHOMILY STARTERSFAITH SHARINGCHILDREN ACTIVITIESMUSIC

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This Week’s Sermon

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Center for Excellence in Preaching

Working Preacher

 

Art in the Christian Tradition

 

Peaceable Kingdom. Hicks, Edward, 1780-1849

Peaceable Kingdom
Hicks, Edward, 1780-1849

 

Contemporary Justice and Child. Shimin, Symeon, 1902-

Contemporary Justice and Child .
Shimin, Symeon, 1902-

 

Saint John the Baptist Preaching to the Masses in the Wilderness. Bruegel, Pieter, 1564-1638

Saint John the Baptist Preaching to the Masses in the Wilderness .
Bruegel, Pieter, 1564-1638

 

John the Baptist.

John the Baptist

 

John the Baptist's Warning about the impending judgment.

John the Baptist’s Warning about the impending judgment

 

SERMON WRITER

courtesy of NIELL DONOVAN
“The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together” (Isaiah 11:6a). 
These are three unlikely pairings:  The wolf and the lamb (a young sheep); the leopard and the kid (a young goat); the lion and the fatling (the calf of a cow or an ox).  In our experience, a wolf that lies down with a lamb usually has the lamb inside the wolf rather than beside it.  But Isaiah pictures a peaceable kingdom where predators will cease their predation and their prey will lose their fear.
If we interpret this image literally, God will have to modify the digestive systems of predators, which are God-designed to process flesh and bone rather than vegetation—and verse 7 suggests that that might be the intent here.  However, it is also possible that the poet, Isaiah, is using these animals in a poetic way, as symbols of natural enemies that represent the hostilities that exist among people—that he is not saying that God will reconfigure all of nature so that no animal feeds on another—that he, instead, intends us to picture a world where people live at peace with each other—a world where sin no longer creates hostilities that separate one person or tribe or nation from another—a world where people are able to acknowledge one another as friends, neighbors, brothers, and sisters—a world where there is no longer any such thing as enemies or enmities.
“and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6b).
In Vietnam, I would often see a child riding atop a huge water buffalo, guiding the animal as it pulled a plow or performed some other task.  It was fascinating to watch them, because the child would appear to be so small and young, while the water buffalo would stand 5-6 feet (1.5 – 1.8 m.) tall and weigh well in excess of a thousand pounds (450 kg.).  It was hard to imagine how the child could even mount the animal, much less control it.  The picture was further enhanced by the water buffalo’s massive horns, capable of killing a person with a single thrust.
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A SERMON FOR EVERY SUNDAY

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

Ryan Ahlgrim, Mennonite

A World Without War

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SOURCE: A Sermon for Every Sunday
JOURNEY WITH JESUS

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

The Voice of One Crying

By Debie Thomas. — 2019

Unless we’re in the wilderness, it’s hard to see our own privilege, and even harder to imagine giving it up.  No one standing on a mountaintop wants the mountain flattened.  But when we’re wandering in the wilderness, and immense, barren landscapes stretch out before us in every direction, we’re able to see what privileged locations obscure.  Suddenly, we feel the rough places beneath our feet.  We experience what it’s like to struggle down twisty, crooked paths.  We glimpse arrogance in the mountains and desolation in the valleys, and we begin to dream God’s dream of a wholly reimagined landscape.  A landscape so smooth and straight, it enables “all flesh” to see the salvation of God.

Where are you located during this Advent season?  How close are you to security and power, and how open are you to risking the wilderness to hear a word from God?  What might repentance look like for you, here and now?  Where is God leveling the ground you stand on, and what will it take for you to participate in that uncomfortable but essential work?

LECTIONARY ESSAY INDEX

CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN PREACHING

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

Rearranging Our Price Tags

By Rev. John Timmer

Danish writer Kierkegaard tells a parable of a vandal who broke into a department store one night. But rather than steal things, he rearranged all the price tags. The next morning the sales people and customers came upon one surprise after another: diamond necklaces on sale for a dollar, and cheap costume-jewelry earrings costing thousands of dollars.

The gospel is like that vandal, Kierkegaard says. It rearranges all our price tags. It calls black white and white black. It says we must love our enemies and not hate them. It says we are not to resist one who is evil but to turn the right cheek to someone who has struck us on the left cheek. It says we must give generously to people in need, but without telling a single soul that we did. It says that, though we see weakness and wrong in others, we must refrain from judging them. It says we must pluck out our right eye rather than look at someone lustfully. It says we must forgive others their trespasses and not cultivate feelings of anger and hatred. It says we must live as free as a bird and not worry about the future.


Shedding Your Skin

By Leonard Vander Zee

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia stories, Eustace commits an act of betrayal that makes him turn into a thick-skinned dragon. (Lewis has such wonderfully imaginative ways of picturing Christian ideas.)…

God wants to turn us into real people, whole and good and joyful, with lives filled with meaning and purpose. Repentance is letting God’s Spirit peel away the gnarly skin of our sinfulness, layer after layer. And baptism is the bracing splash of new life, along with the power of the Holy Spirit to start afresh. John points to Jesus and says, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” He will make things happen.

Like Eustace, we’re afraid of looking squarely at our sins, the habits, the memories, the emotions that keep us stuck where we are. We feel we’ll be overwhelmed by them. But, the reverse turns out to be true. The more we see the depth of our sin, the more we realize the height of God’s love. The constant companion of repentance is not sadness, but gratitude. Seeing ourselves as we are in the light of God’s grace becomes, to our surprise, an occasion for joy. We’re free. Free not to hide any more, not to conceal or impress or make excuses for ourselves. Free to love God with abandon, and to love others without bargaining and conditions. Most of all, we’re free to turn around, because this is not merely our work, which only brings despair, but the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

CONTEMPORARY APPLICATION

2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

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