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Mk 13:24-37 · 1Co 1:3-9 · Isa 64:1-9 · Ps 80
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Getting Ready
Mark 13:24-37


It is hard for us to understand Jesus' delay in his coming. God's time clock is certainly out of sync with ours as Little Jimmy learned one day as he was laying on a hill in the middle of a meadow on a warm spring day. Puffy white clouds rolled by and he pondered their shape. Soon, he began to think about God.

"God? Are you really there?" Jimmy said out loud.

To his astonishment a voice came from the clouds. "Yes, Jimmy? What can I do for you?"

Seizing the opportunity, Jimmy asked, "God? What is a million years like to you?"

Knowing that Jimmy could not understand the concept of infinity, God responded in a manner to which Jimmy could relate. "A million years to me, Jimmy, is like a minute."

"Oh," said Jimmy. "Well, then, what's a million dollars like to you?" "A million dollars to me, Jimmy, is like a penny."

"Wow!" remarked Jimmy, getting an idea. "You're so generous... can I have one of your pennies?"

God replied, "Sure thing, Jimmy! Just a minute."

Little Jimmy wasn't ready for that response was he? Our text this morning seems an unlikely scripture for Advent. It has nothing to do with Mary and Joseph, the Wise Men, of shepherds watching their flock. Instead it is story about a wealthy landowner going on a trip. The servants left behind were given charge of the estate and when the master returned he would check on their stewardship. It is a story about being prepared, getting ready. In that sense then this is an Advent story, for this is the season of preparedness. Consider with me a moment that...
  1. God Identifies with the Human Situation.
  2. Advent Is Time to Get Ready for the Return of Christ.
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Leonard Sweet's Sermon

The Full Advent: Whoa! No Way? Wow!
Mark 13:24-37

This Sunday marks a new "season" in the church calendar. After a series of twenty-four Sundays defined simply as "After Pentecost," the church community around the world is now called to focus on a new turn in our journey.

Advent is a season of anticipation and preparation for the "coming" (adventus) of Jesus. But mostly during Advent we do strange and ridiculous things. We put up a tree in our living room. Not too long ago our ancestors even used to light the tree with burning candles, which burned many houses down. We decorate the whole house as though it was one huge present. We blow our electric bill through the roof with outdoor lighting. We start buying stuff and wrapping stuff and baking stuff and preparing stuff. All to what end? So that when Jesus finally arrives our Christmas celebration will be special and memorable.

Advent is the church's annual adventure in being astounded by something new, not in Macy's but in a manger.

And yet the first gospel reading for the Season of Advent is not "something new." Instead it recalls a prediction from the old as recorded by the prophet Daniel. Daniel 7:13 evokes the vision of a "son of man coming with the clouds of heaven." It describes this heavenly figure as one who will "gather his elect," a message that suggests that those not "elected" are in fact "rejected." It is a grand vision of a heavenly empowered divine "son of man" coming to earth to extend judgment. This "son of man" is a historic figure of heavenly origin, a divine being who becomes human and will change the course of human history. The final word in this week's gospel text from Mark is to "keep watch," to "watch out" for the signs that will reveal that the approach of this "son of man" is imminent...

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