Sunday Sermon by Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu, Second Sunday of Advent 6 December 2020

Please find the text of the sermon below.

An audio version is available.

Service

An outline of the service followed is also given below.
Please note: We hold services on Sunday at 7.30 and 9.15 in the church

Service Outline 7.30 and 9.15

Lighting of Advent Candle

Let us offer ourselves anew as witnesses to the advent of Christ’s glory, seeking to bring
Christ’s light and love to those who sit in darkness
O come, O come Emmanuel;
you are our light and our salvation:
Come Lord Jesus Christ.

Today is the second Sunday of Advent, when we listen carefully for the prophetic voice of God which calls us to repentance.

As we light the candle let us be reminded of our need to expose our sin to the light.
Let us pray.
God of all ages;
let your Spirit be born in us
that we might discern your voice
in the midst of our frantic world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Collect

God of timeless grace,
you fill us with joyful expectation:
make us ready for the message that prepares the way
so that with uprightness of heart and holy joy
we may eagerly await the kingdom of your Son,
Jesus Christ;
who lives reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Introit: Hark a thrilling voice is sounding CP26
Isaiah 40: 1-11
Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13
Gradual:Earth was waiting, spent and restless
Mark 1:1-8

Nicene Creed

Offortory hymn: Hark, the glad sound! CP27

First Eucharistic Prayer

Recessional: Now from the heavens descending CP314

Sermon by Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu

  • The Current statistics indicates that
    In each and every 1 hour, at least 2 women are killed in South Africa
    Many of them are assaulted and raped before their death.
    South Africa is said to have the highest increasing rate of GBV Incidents, (With the highest increase during the Lockdown)
    About 3 Million South African have lost their Jobs as the results of the Covid 19 pandemic
    (3 MILLION)
    About 1.5 million of people have dies of Covid-19 Worldwide, about 21 709 of them being South African
  • Shocking isn’t?
  • Mark begins his Gospel with the periscope we just read today, His initial words are “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God…”
  • Good news?
  • Aren’t we facing a disaster?
    What good can come out of such a difficult time?
    The Gospel of God is good news, behind what Mark is about to talk about in his book is good news.
    Isaiah in our first reading provides a scriptural context for such a theological claim.
    In fact, Marks seems to quote verses 2 and 3 from Isaiah 40.
    Isaiah offers the words of comfort to the people of Jerusalem. They have sinned, faced violence and suffered.
  • Aren’t we like them?
    (Suffering and distressed in this time of the pandemic?)
    Don’t we feel like we are being punished?
    But now here Isaiah presents a more intimate and compassionate God.
  • God calls the People in Jerusalem “My People”
    And God promises them that all their hindrances will be removed
    God says to them “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low,
    The rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain”
  • Isaiah goes as far as presenting the God who gathers the lambs in His arms, and carries them close to his heart”
    OH, what a Loving and caring God
    Mark presents John as someone who paves the way for such wonderful God.
    John is in the wilderness, “Clothed in camel’s hair and leather, with locusts and honey as his meal”
    His life is the life of simplicity, a life in the margins (a dessert, a place less attractive)
    John is God’s servant, who prepares God’s way, as God says in Isaiah “Prepare the way! I am coming to my people…”
  • It is not about the one who prepares, it is about the One who is coming
    God has called us to not draw attention to ourselves, but to prepare a way for Godself.
    To prepare a way for Jesus, a carrier of Good news.
    The transporter of Hope for a better tomorrow.
    What is this good news to Mark’s audience and what does it mean to us today?

Is it suffering now, and rejoicing after death?

Is it seeing a man with a big bearded flying on the sky?

I certainly do not think so
These good news means the coming of the Kingdom of God
A better life for all
A New and perfect life for all
A life without Gender based violence
A life without Xenophobic and homophobic attacks
A peaceful life
A flourishing life
We all have the role to play in bringing about good news

The Anglican Church teaches us that the calling is not only limited to those who wear cassocks, color and stoles
But all baptized members are called
We are all called
We are called to minister the good news of this Kingdom
We are called to challenge the unjust systems of this society
To challenge our heteronormative culture
The system that doesn’t allow people to rejoice in their harvest
And it is only when we (Like John) respond to this calling that we can participate in God’s ministry of bringing about good news

The good news that draw all people closer and closer to God.
We as the church are called to be proclaimers of these good news Jesus
To be proclaimers of Hope
And agents of better life for all.
We are called not to draw attention to ourselves.
To pave a way for a loving and caring God even on a desert land.
We are called to pave a way for good news in the midst of the struggle.
Less us go out and proclaim these good news
Amen.

During this difficult time of the global pandemic, you are invited to make a contribution to the ministry and mission of our church by making a donation to the following account: Account Name: St Paul’s Church Account Number: 50854628623 Bank: First National Bank (FNB) Branch Code: 221426