2nd Sunday before Advent – morning
Sunday 17th November 2019
2 before Advent – morning
Malachi 4. 1-2a
Luke 21. 5-19
Revd Preb Maureen Hobbs
How many of you find the News almost too difficult to view at present?
It’s awful, isn’t it? As if we had not all had enough of Brexit, now we have the Election with Politicians all promising us more and more – (without a clear idea of how to pay for it) and all this bad weather! And in other parts of the world it doesn’t seem much better does it? It would be easy to believe that the end of the world is not far away – and with climate change we seem to be making it come all the sooner!
Well, none of us knows – thank Goodness! – when the end of the world is truly coming, and that is probably just as well.
Sometimes we turn to our Bible readings for a bit of comfort and reassurance, but we can’t even do that much today! Both of them also seem to be speaking about the end times…. it is all a bit scary!
Even – or maybe especially,- Jesus, who is speaking about the things that will happen when that time comes – wars and sickness all around. But Jesus tells his followers that they don’t need to be afraid; when and if the world does come to an end, the followers of God will be saved.
That is what we are reminding ourselves of when we come to baptise little Verity in a while. That whatever problems or challenges she may meet in life as she grows up, she can be reminded that she is a child of God (as well as of Mark and Laurie!). And as such, she need never be truly afraid.
These readings make me think of the rain and storms we have had recently – even in Pattingham!
Imagine what it must feel like if you were out in that sort of weather on a boat on the ocean. A mighty wind blowing a huge storm in and the winds tearing at your sails and threatening to blow your boat over! The waves getting bigger and bigger and the rain pouring until you cannot tell where the water ends and the sky begins. Waves like high mountains all around you. Your little boat will be thrown around; one moment up in the air on the crest of a wave, the next, dropping right down to the bottom of the wave. Maybe even thunder and lightning above your head…. It would be a terrible storm.
If you were caught out in a storm like that, where could you go to be safe? How could you get away from the storm?
Well if, instead of being in a boat, you were in a submarine, you could dive down deep into the ocean. And if you could do that, you might find that it was suddenly fairly calm and still down there. Even if a wild storm is raging on the surface, you can be calm and quiet below.
All of us meet with storms and rough waters in life – because it is never easy for anyone! Sometimes bad things happen or we get hurt, or ill, or we feel very, very sad. All of us have cried and been hurt before, and we probably will again.
But our mighty God is like a deep part of the ocean. He is always right there beneath us and all around us. He is deep and calm and steady and he doesn’t change. When we hit rough waters in our lives, we can dive down into God’s protection and comfort. We can pray and remember that God is holding us quietly and safely.
And to remind us of that, he invites us to his table to come and share the wine and bread of his love and his life – a life and a love that he puts into each and every one of us here today. A life and a love that he shares with Verity as she comes to join his special family.
Deep and mighty God, thank you for being the calm beneath our storms. Help us to remember to turn to you for help and comfort when life gets rough. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen