Sermon from the Rev. Joseph H. Hensley, Jr., Rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church Fredericksburg, VA | All Saints’ Sunday Year B: November 4, 2018 Today we celebrate All Saints Sunday. It is one of the major feasts of the church year, right up there with Christmas and Easter. In some places the celebration begins on the […]
We began our service with a prayer containing these words: “O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory. Grant to us that we may be changed into the likeness of Christ from glory to glory. Are we serious about this prayer? Do we really want to be changed into the likeness of Christ?
Joy to the world. The angel says to the shepherds, “Behold I bring you good news of great joy.” The prophet Isaiah says, “You, God, have multiplied the nations, you have increased its joy.” Psalm 96 says, “Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad…then all the trees of the wood will shout for joy before the Lord when he comes.” Joy. Joy. Joy. If there is one word you remember from this Christmas sermon tonight, let it be this: joy.
Today, on this second Sunday in our season of Advent, we are reminded again that this is a season of waiting. Waiting for Christ to return, waiting for our completion and fulfillment, waiting for a new creation. The invitation is to wait in peace and to wait with hope. The message of Advent is true all the year round. We are a waiting people, and this is the place where we learn the art of waiting. We do not usually like waiting. We try to avoid having to wait. Or if we have to wait, we find something else to do while we wait passively for something to happen. The waiting we do here, though, is Advent waiting, active waiting. Advent waiting is joyful anticipation, paying close attention because there is something new breaking out right now.
The people whom God has chosen so often miss the point, over and over again–when we reject the one who has come to save us, when we fail to recognize the Savior standing right in front of us. But it’s not too late! The promise of God–the promise of life and love that is stronger than death is always there. It’s not too late.