A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on
Sunday 7 December 2014, Second Sunday in Advent, by the Rev. Dr.
John LeMond. The scripture
readings that day were Isaiah 40:1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8.
In the season of Advent we wait for our Lord to come
But the coming of
the Lord is often tied together
With the end of the world as we know it.
Last week, in the reading from Mark
We were told by Jesus to stay awake
That there is something coming that will surprise us
And in the Sundays preceding Advent
We read of the time when there will be a judgment of all
Laying each of these themes side by side
We come to a clearer picture of the central meaning of
According to the early Christians,
It was the fullness of
time that was coming upon them.
And they expected it at any moment.
It was a time when all the old, bad things would disappear
And a time of complete righteousness would exist…
A time of complete unity, harmony and peace with God.
It would be a new reality,
In which they themselves would be righteous:
Right with God.
It was in this sense that
The early Christians hoped
for the end of the world as they knew it.
Of course, they lived in a world
In which they were a persecuted minority.
They longed for Christ to return in power and great glory.
Yes, there would be suffering and darkness and confusion,
But that was only the first
The darkness before
the everlasting light of God’s kingdom;
Before the eternal
union with God.
What happened to this hope of the early church?
What happened to the expectation
That everything will change
Suddenly and soon?
In fact, much of the once Christian world
Has now lost this hope of a coming savior.
The kingdom of God,
An earth of peace and righteousness
Have not materialized.
It’s an old dream, an old story,
Seen by many to be the worn-out belief of a past age.
But what about us?
As we sit here today
We seem to be saying by our very presence here
That we do see the world differently.
We might not expect the second coming of Jesus Christ
To happen tomorrow…although we think it might,
We aren’t sure.
And we aren’t sure what it will mean if Jesus does come again.
What would unity and harmony and peace with God look like?
The truth is, even we,
Who come together to worship the Lord of Advent,
Rarely spend time thinking about the second coming of
We are content with, or at least we accept,
Life as it is now.
We’ve learned to live with life as it is now.
Death concerns us
far more than the second Advent of the Lord
Because death is constantly a part of our lives.
We see it, we experience
And so what we
want to know desperately is:
What happens after death?
The Second Coming…is not a desperate question for us.
Of course, we do have hope
that it will someday take place.
And that’s enough.
Hope is, after all,
The certainty of something that we have never seen.
In fact, it is the certainty of something
That our ancestors have never seen;
Something that our grandchildren for many, many generations
might not see.
It might be another 2,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 years
Before the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Does it really make any difference?
It makes no
difference to us how long before the expected reign of God
For, he says,
with God one day is like a thousand years,
thousand years is like one day.
This is one
of those scripture passages
sometimes quote when we need to.
It’s easy to
But it often
makes little or no impact on our lives.
What does it
What Peter is
telling us is this:
does not matter
Time is only
a reality for us, and not for God.
It is not
just that time is kind of strangely mixed up for God:
One and a
thousand, a thousand and one.
No. It is
that time itself has no meaning for
For us…it is everything.
What time is
it? What time should we meet?
How long did
you live in that place? How old are you?
late? Am I early? Am I on
celebrations all over the world
entered into the 21st century,
some great boundary of time had been crossed.
Christ coming again?
When is the
end of time coming?
When will God
happen before I die?
questions concern us because time
obsessed with these questions because
obsessed with time.
assures us: God is not concerned with time
For God, one
day is like a thousand years,
thousand years is like one day.
lived 2,000 years ago
Would that be
2 days for God
Or would it
be 2 million years.
To ask an
illogical question like this almost makes sense to us,
makes sense to us.
But when time
makes no difference
When there is
no distinction between yesterday, today and tomorrow
fact, there is no distinction
day and one thousand years
between 2,000 years ago and this present moment
between 2,000 years ago—and 2,000 years from now
begin to see
That we live,
not in anticipation of the coming of Christ,
But in the
presence of Christ…at every moment.
We live in
the presence of the crucified and risen Christ…now.
the coming Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ…
And once we
have understood this
Peter asks an
If this is
true…how should we live?
Does it make
any difference that we have not seen the coming of God in our time?
In terms of
time, Peter says, no.
But in terms
of the way we live our lives…
It makes a
are called to live without seeing in time.
We are called
Christ’s death and resurrection are now
To live as
second coming is now
To live as
That we live
in hope: believing without seeing
A life that
reflects the time-less reality of
encourages us: Live in peace
Live in peace…
live, right now
Jesus among us, Jesus crucified and Jesus come again.
That is what
we celebrate at Advent.
coming of God into the world.
of God is timeless…
Or as Peter
of God is patient.
patiently in the Lord.