Awake and Alert

2020-11-29 – Year B – Advent 1 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Isaiah 64:1-9a; Psalm 80:1-7; Mark 13:24-37

  • On July 9, 1982, a man named Michael Fagan scaled the fence around Buckingham Palace in London.
    • He scaled a drainpipe and entered the palace through an unlocked window.
    • Once inside, he made his way around the palace unchallenged. 
    • He set off various alarm systems, but the security team thought it was a mistake.
    • One of the household staff saw him but didn’t think that he looked suspicious and didn’t sound an alarm.
    • Mr. Fagan entered Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s bedroom at 7:15 AM. The queen woke up when he opened the curtains.
    • The queen pressed her alarm bell, but for vairous reasons, no one heard it.
    • Eventually, she was able to use her telephone to tell the palace switchboard operator to summon the police.
    • This was the second time Mr. Fagan had entered Buckingham Palace!
  • The Gospel readings over the last three weeks have all dealt with the return of the Son of Man. In connection with these passages, we have talked about how we should behave right now to prepare for the return of Jesus.
    • Grow in holiness and discipleship
    • Be diligent in telling others and spreading the kingdom
    • Care for the poor, the outcast, and the marginalized.
  • Today the instruction is not about something to do, instead, it is a way of being.
    • Mark 13:33 – Stay awake waiting for the return of the Master.
    • This is attentive waiting, like a watchman or a door keeper.
    • A report from Scotland Yard “emphasized that if police officers had been alert and competent, Fagan would have been apprehended well before he got close to the private apartments.”

Advent

  • The word “Advent” means “coming.”
  • The season of Advent is a season of preparation and waiting.
  • As we prepare and wait for our annual celebration of Christmas, the first Advent, it reminds us that our whole lives are about waiting and preparing for the second coming.
  • Bible search for “wait”: 135 results, 24 in the Psalms, far more than other books.
    • “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14, ESV)
    • “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1, ESV)
    • “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” (Psalm 62:1, ESV)

Waiting for Christmas

  • In our culture we have a problem with busyness and hurry:
    • 6 to 8 weeks vs. Amazon Prime Now – delivery in as little as 1 hour!
    • the moment Thanksgiving is over we immediately begin to celebrate Christmas.
    • Black Friday captures the shopping impulses of people while they are still on a thanksgiving break to get them thinking about buying Christmas presents.
    • It is actually a good thing to get your Christmas shopping done early, ideally before Advent begins, so that while everyone else is hurrying, you can wait.
    • My Christmas present
  • While the culture is rushing forward into Christmas, how could you practice waiting?
    • Three things we do in church that you could also do at home.
    • Advent Wreath on your dinner table – eat meals together
    • Refraining from listening to Christmas music, try advent music instead!
    • Holding back on decorations – Jesse tree

Waiting for the Lord’s Return

  • Mark 13:32 – No one knows the day or the hour
  • Romans 8:24-25 – Hope – “we wait for it with patience”
  • Levi waiting for his food
  • Take on a new prayer discipline or use an advent devotional
  • Silence & Solitude
    • “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” (Psalm 62:1, ESV)
    • Walking the dog, driving in the car, a few moments before others in the house wake up.
  • Practice 1 minute of silence.

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