St. George’s Church Astoria
First Sunday of Advent 2007 (Year A RCL)
Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matt 24:36-44
The Rev. R. F. Solon, Jr.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be always acceptable to you, O Lord our strength and our redeemer. Amen!
I want to thank Canon Juan Bosch and the Wardens and Vestry of St. George’s for your kind invitation to worship with you today. It’s a privilege for me to be with you and I’m deeply honored.
I’ve always loved cities. I grew up in
But boy, it can be maddening at times to live here, can’t it? I mean, sometimes the simplest things just take a lot of time. Getting any place means deciding bus or subway or both, or maybe car. Shopping can be very easy if you’re in the right neighborhood, or really difficult. Thank God for FreshDirect, although they don’t have it yet in
Cities, and one city in particular, were on the mind of the prophet Isaiah, too. For Isaiah, a prophet writing perhaps 800 years before Christ,
The whole topic of the last things or end times can be a really difficult one. Many of our fundamentalist brothers and sisters, who try to take every word of the Bible literally, read into bits of today’s Gospel and the Book of Revelation especially an entire sequence of events about what will happen and when. If you have heard about the Left Behind series of books, you know what I mean. People have tried to construct all sorts of fanciful meanings for John’s visions. The problem is, Revelation is not meant to be taken literally. But today’s gospel from Matthew doesn’t get into fantastic signs and symbols from heaven. Rather, it talks about the uncertainty of when whatever is going to happen actually does. And I think the most important part of the entire passage is the first verse: “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the son, but only the Father.” I think that’s really significant, because here Jesus tells us not to be too worried about what will happen or even when. After all, he admits he doesn’t even know. But Jesus does warn us not to slack off. When the gospel of Matthew was written, most believers thought that Jesus was coming back any day – in their lifetimes.
And so warnings like we have this morning make a lot of sense. But of course, given that we are sitting here today in 2007 still waiting for Jesus to return, then we have to rethink what it means to be ready and watchful and waiting. In fact, this theme of watchful waiting is so important in Matthew that there are no less then two other parables about it. You can read for yourselves the Parable of the Bridesmaids and the Parable of the Talents – they follow right after today’s Gospel in chapter 25.
So Jesus is talking to his disciples about the end of the world and they ask him about the
And of course, the New Jerusalem is compared to a bride on her wedding day. And the church – the community of all believers, is often called the Bride of Christ. And so when I hear the vision of Isaiah that says, “For out of
None of us has the luxury to just do nothing. Even though Advent is in part a time of waiting, and a time of slowing down, it’s for a purpose. I think Advent is a time to reflect on what each of us is doing to bring about that vision of the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem. What are you doing to bring a message of peace to those around you, in your home and where you work and where you hang out? And what about this worhipping community of
PS - Eucharist is now using Year A, Office is Year 2!