Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"Where Is Our Hope?"

Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25,  Luke 21:25-36

November 29, 2009

by James Greene

 

Have you ever realized how dark the night can be?  Have you ever been in the thick woods on a cloudy night?  I learned that single, lit match in the night, can be seen from 2 miles away.  If you were on a battlefield, it would give away your position.  That small amount of a light can violate security, or it can truly be a guide to those wandering in the darkness.  

Think about going through your house with all of the lights off, and how many times you run into things even though you live there, ---even after living there,

a long time.  (somebody moved something before you went to bed, and in the dark you will definitely find it) 

 

I  Light -     Today is the Season of Hope.

We see this in our reading from Jeremiah.  The prophesy of God’s Promise is seen bracketed by the phrases “In those days”.  This is where someone from King David’s line will rule over God’s people.  The phrase “The Lord Our Righteousness” refers not only to the title of the Messiah of the future but also it is the symbolic name of Jerusalem.  The Hope of Israel comes from the Promise and the Covenants made by God with his people.

The Hebrew day began at sundown.  It is different from our modern concept of the start of the day.  When you think about it; they go from darkness into light.  Theologically we go from God’s Promise into the Hope of that Promise.  The Hope for Israel comes from the Covenants made by God with them, as we heard also in Psalm 25.

 

We see many of the references to light in the Bible.  Christ says "I am the light of the world".  John the Baptist came to bear witness to the light. The Jews were to be

a light to the gentiles.        

Light draws us from a long way off like the match on a dark night.  The lights on the runway gives a pilot understanding of the darkness, and the direction to fly the airplane.  Light helps us see where the holes are, in the path and where it leads us.        Light is what Hope is all about!  (2X)

 

II  Hope Vs False Hope?

           In the Navy ships communicate using signal lights that flash out a message.  

Once, there was a ship moving in a light fog that sent a message, to an on-coming light -

           "move right to avoid collision"  The on-coming light responded back -

           "no, you need to move right".  The ship's reply was -

           "I am a Captain of a US Ship - move right"  The on-coming light responded -

           "I am a light house -  move right" and so,  the Captain complied.

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           We must realized that there are different kinds of light and there are  different kinds of Hope. We may think we are headed in the right direction, until we read scripture and realize, we are on a collision coarse with the rocks. 

Sometimes, we use phrases about Hope:  I hope the Aggies would win a game now and then.  I sure hope it rains tomorrow or I hope I can get home before the car breaks down.  But these should not be real expressions of where we place our Hope.  

In the midst of turmoil and chaos that sometimes flows over and through our lives, we need to be sure that our Hope is real.  Our security (like Psalm 25) should rest in God’s Promises, and not in the diversified funds, the 401K, or the company where we work.  The reason we put on our money “In God We Trust” is to remind us that our Hope is not to be placed in material things. 

 

           We have to see things as God sees them, and remember his Promise.  We must see it with our heart, and not our eyes, just like Bartmaeus.  We see the Way of the Christ, who not only heals us, but also saves us.  We must know that our Hope is real and is grounded in the Promise of God revealed in His Word.

 

           Hope is one of the fundamental elements of life.  It is not wishful thinking.  It is knowing with certainty, that we are loved, and that things can and will get better. 

 

III  Our Hope 

In our reading from Luke this morning we see Jesus describing the destruction of Jerusalem and the chaos and the shaking of creation, the distress of nations and the Second Coming.  He describes how we are to stand up when we see destruction coming and lift up our heads.  It is because, we have place our Hope in the Promises of God, that we can do this.  God’s coming means deliverance.  We know the end of all things and we have placed our Hope in the faithfulness of God.

The parable and the message are all about being careful of our hearts and where we place our hope.  We are to always be on guard, to watch and to pray, so that we may be able to stand, in confidence, before The Son of Man when he comes.

 

IV  So, We asks ourselves today: “Where is our Hope?”

           Jesus as the Messiah comes into history, and into our lives to demonstrate the radical Hope of God for all people.  For we know that much of mankind lives more or less in a sense of radical hopelessness.  This is what life is like for those not in the fellowship of the people of God.  It is a quiet anxious despair to which they are committed.  We are called to share our Hope with everyone.  We are to be a light

to those around us, so that, they too may have hope.  We must be ready at all times to give a reason for the Hope that is with in us, not only this season, but also in every season.  Hope to us is a lot of things:

Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not an on coming train! 

Hope is when someone laughs at your joke.

Joy is when we share love, and laughter, and Hope in the fellowship.

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           Hope is seeing the congregation come alive in this season: working together to decorate the sanctuary and the church. 

Hope is the dedication of God’s people to carry on through the years.  Hope is caring for each other, and hanging Owls and spines in caring for the Church. 

Hope is an illustration of how God's light shines through us, to be Christ to those around us, and impact upon all those around us.  It is in hearing and being apart of

The Good News.  It is our nature to inspire, and bring that Hope, and that light to the world, if we are to be the example of Jesus, the One we follow.  We are to be witnesses to the Hope of God in Christ.  We are to live, aware of salvation, and God’s Promise,  after this life.  We are to participate in God's Creation and sharing of Hope, that those around us might have hope and believe, and we like Bartimaeus, must bear witness in Hope.  Because, Jesus is The One that gives us direction, and Hope within that is the reason for our confidence in this life and the next.     

 

Psalm 73 :23-26               Hope

           Hope,

           Like a thread of light

           Focuses our sight,

           Pulls us forward

           Through the night

           Past the pain of present darkness

           Draws us closer towards Thy light

           Into the presence of Thy Promise.

 

Where is our greatest Hope?”  We know that having Hope, is winning at life.

It is in Hope in The One who loves us, saves us, and redeems us.  It is, in knowing, that the sun will come up in the morning.  It is knowing that Jesus, The Son, will shine in and through our lives. He is the one who comes to us, in this Season…. 

That we might have Hope…

 

     In the Name of The Father, and The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  A-men

 

 

 

 

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When we are caught off guard and in the dark, in the midst of the chaos that is going on around us, we live in confident Hope.

 

“Light The Candles” by Joanna Adams  (11/28/06)

           “During the colonial period in American history, an eclipse of the sun caught members of a New England state legislature off guard.  In the midst of general panic a motion was made to adjourn, but one of the legislators stood up and said,

‘Mr. Speaker, if it is the end of the world and we adjourn, we shall appear as fools. 

If it is the end of the world, I choose to be found doing my duty.

I move you, Sir, let candles be brought.”

 

           Let us light the Advent Candles, and let’s live in the Light, and act in Hope until our Lord comes again.

 

Note is from: Wayne Walther Pastor Grace Lutheran Lockhart, Texas