Service of Nine Words,
Sunday November 27, 2011.
Friends, every year we run into this Advent theme of waiting and every year this grand vision of Isaiah appears on our horizon to reassure us that there is a grand plan in all of the goings on of our life and our church.
This picture of God’s enduring reality that is meant to carry us through whatever we are experiencing, particularly doubt, fear ad anxiety about our future is beautiful and needed.
I wonder whether this Advent of all of the last 8 here at Ocean Forest is the most full of these realities of fear, doubt and anxiety about waiting and pondering what is going to happen to us.
I feel this fear and uncertainty as I pull away from you and feel your sadness and anxiety. I sense that you sense that you are now going to be waiting in a way you have never waited before as a congregation of followers of Jesus.
the wilderness of no pastor, little music and sense of well-being will rejoice and blossom again.
These worrying days will burst into bloom at the right time; You will eventually shout for joy at hat God has done for you. You will see a glimpse of the glory of the LORD, the splendour of our God. To troubled people God then calls for a response in these Advent days of waiting:
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come and deliver.
Isaiah was sure against all insecurity. he was form against all wavering and doubting. So am I. The Lord will deliver and in the meantime, he will shape you individually and together in ways that have never happened for us here. We are in new ground again – but it is God’s ground.
I call you with Isaiah to be there for each other. Say things to each other. Say things that encourage and build up like never before and in new ways. God will be in your speaking and doing. This is his promise today.
Amazingly, through this trusting and encouraging and doing good things for each other, your eyes will be opened to new things. Your blindness to God’s presence in your life will be taken away and life will look different when the new road is in place ahead.
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
There is a new road ahead for this congregation in mission. There is no getting around it now. But again, it is God’s construction. It is a people road and we are all people under construction.
8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
10 and those the LORD has rescued will return.
This road of the next months is ours and it is the Lord’s and it will be a means through which he affirms in you your “set apartness”, your “specialness,” as his uniquely gifted and faithful people in this place.
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.