Wednesday, 5 December 2012

All Saints Word: Advent - Jim Currin

Advent 2012 Jeremiah 33:14-16, Luke 21:25-36
Have you done any work on their ancestry? Did you find any skeletons in the cupboard?
My mother is a ‘silver surfer’ and produced a great big file, on both sides of the family, that goes back several generations. So I now know that: In Leicester, my great, great Grandfather on my mother’s side (William Jennings) is buried among the great 100 in the Welford Rd cemetery. On the day we visited we could hear the crowd roar at Leicester City Football club, just down the road, fitting as William Jennings was the founder and first director of Leicester City Football Club.
Currins have a history of being Irish including , a canal navvy and a disputed descendant of King Edward III.

Ancestry is important – it says who we are. It can make things difficult if you don’t know, especially at Christmas.
Read Luke 1, to see the ancestry of Jesus
Where does it connect with the reading from Jeremiah?

Jeremiah was called aged 20. he was a prophet for 40 years. Not sure if he was paid, probably didn’t make any profit as a prophet! If you wanted to be rich as a prophet you made sure that you prophesied positive things for the wealthy and powerful. Oh, Jeremiah! You wouldn't have lasted long on “The Apprentice”.

According to worldly values of achievement and wealth Jeremiah is a failure.
40 years God’s spokesman in Judah, but when he spoke no-one listened. Imprisoned in ch 37; down a cistern ch 38; taken off to Egypt ch 43. Rejected by neighbours 11:19; and by family 12:6; opposed by false prophets 20:1,2 and ch 28; abandoned by friends 20:10, and his audience 26:8; and finally by the kings 36:23.
If we ask about how accurate his prophecy was he was a success.
His words about an ‘army invading from the north’ is attested by history. Read the account of the fall of Jerusalem in ch 52. His prophesy about the Branch of David as the ‘Lord our righteousness’ came true with the coming of Christ.
And by God’s values of faith and obedience Jeremiah was also success!
He was given an unpopular message and he didn’t understand what he was talking about! God did, but he didn’t, just had to be obedient. Jeremiah didn't ask “Will the be popular?”, “Will this be heard?” “Will this be effective?”. He just spoke out.

What does he speak out? He talks about:

a) David’s line – still important for the people of God in Israel. All are ‘sons of Abraham’, but you are special if you can trace your ancestry to David’s line – Read what the angel says in Mt 1:20 re Joseph.
b) The ‘Righteous branch’ of David, and compares the worldly King with a Godly King. Worldy King David had his failures – to get Bathsheba he murdered her husband Uriah and mounted a cover up, lying and using war as a smokescreen. If they had had phones in those days he would have hacked them.
c) The Godly King (Jesus.) The passage in Jeremiah, almost same as Jeremiah 23: 5 – refers to perfect King of David's line who will reign wisely – and what was engraved on the cross of Jesus?– King of the Jews.

Advent is all about the coming kingdom of God in Christ, the righteous branch of David. Spiritual king. Spiritual kingdom. God’s kingdom. We are called to help to re-establish God’s rule where we are today. We pray, ‘Your kingdom come’ asking for that to be real, ‘on earth’ as in Heaven.

It is Advent: the King is Coming! It is a season for reflection, prayer ,reading and fasting. But its not just about a personal inner spiritual cleanliness. 
For Christians, peace in the Middle East isn’t just about people getting on together, it is also about a right interpretation of the words of the law and the prophets – and God’s rule where all repent and acknowledge him. We should engage with this situation now.
Loving your neighbour isn’t just about being nice to people like Jesus said, it is also about the most important value of the kingdom, and first fruit of the spirit ‘love joy peace’. We should engage with these situations now.
Respecting people of other creeds, colour and nationality, isn’t just about trying to get on together and appreciating each others gifts, it’s also about the kingdom value where there is neither male not female, Jew or greek, slave for free. We should engage with these situations now.
Creating community in the village of Allesley isn’t just about making it a nice place so we keep our house prices high, and school reputation good, it is also about God, Father son and Holy Spirit being three in one – community is at the heart of God. We should engage with these situations now.
Work, rest and play are not just what we need to pay the mortgage, put our feet up, and enjoy ourselves, it is the pattern established by God at the beginning of creation – if you like the start of his kingdom. Some of us need to work harder and others rest more. We should engage with these situations now.
Coming to church isn’t just about enjoying the worship or keeping a heritage, it is about trying to live out the kingdom of God together, here , meeting to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We should engage with these situations now.

Reading the Bible isn’t just about beautiful poetry and an amazing account of the history of the world, it is also an description of God’s kingdom rule, illustrating who did and who didn’t put God first – and the consequences as Jeremiah prophesied. And this is to help us to engage with the coming of the Kingdom of God for which we pray.

So, you see, the Kingdom of God isn’t just about church and religion its about everything. Concern for the Ice cap and rain forest, isn’t just about climate change and earth resources, it is also about God’s world and our stewardship of his creation as a place for all God’s creatures to live. 

The Leveson enquiry isn’t just about catching up with criminal activity, it is about the seeking God’s kingdom values of truth and justice 

The Foodbank isn’t just way of helping the poor and the dispossessed, it is also about sharing our wealth and valuing the other person who can also be part of God’s kingdom.

That is our ancestry, our DNA. It is a great challenge – but a great encouragement. When you wonder if we are really up to this, remember: 

It's in our blood. 

Capt Jim Currin C.A. 

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