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November 29, 2020 Sermon

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  • Advent is the start of our preparation. We're getting ready for what is to come.
  • There are these two words that are working through the service today - anticipation and hope.
  • How do we manage anticipation and hope together?
    • It starts with a small scale in the middle of a bedroom, in its annual ritual: forlorn until the first of the year, then the center of attention for a fleeting moment, until it is left to be abandoned again. Oh to be a scale.
    • Or any of the other top 10 New Year's Resolutions:
      • Enjoy Life
      • Spend Less, Save More
      • Spend more time with loved ones
      • Get organized
      • Learn a new hobby/language
      • Travel More
      • Read More
    • Why do we continue to do these? Because I think we live a life that goes from anticipation to hope.
      • Anticipation
        • The act of regarding as probable; advance action
        • Anticipation recognizes that there is a future state, and we might work towards steps to get to a future state.
        • We all anticipate. The question is what space does our anticipation lie in?
      • Hope
        • Hope is the belief that in that future space, good things will happen.
        • It's the reason we get on our scales, we go exercise, we read, or spend time with family more - all those are recognition of a better future state. I know my spare tire isn't exactly the best I could be. I know there is something more, and so I work
      • Of course these aren't always just a given
        • The anaesthetising allure of inertia - I can always start tomorrow. Anticipation involves action towards the future state, but when we go nowhere, anticipation and hope stay a comforting abstraction. Some of that is just human nature, some of that is fear of failure - the good thing won't come about. Too much of that leads to
        • Despair - the opposite of hope. These are the sullen no resolution folks: I don't do it because I won't.
      • However, this interplay of anticipation and hope build upon themselves - every pound, every new sentence learned gets you to where you believe the future state will be. Even in failure, it can be iterative - it's about taking the steps towards what we hope for, not what we despair towards.
    • The text shows us how these play together
      • Isa - you did these amazing things and we responded! Then things got quiet and we got caught in our inertia, but we know change is gonna come. Anticipation + hope.
      • Mk - "keep awake" could be as much "anticipate" as anything. But what we do with it is whether we lead into hope or despair - when the master returns, what will they find?
  • What about for us?
    • I think we can live into the early part of the Mark passage - that this was all supposed to happen already. It makes despair so much easier. It makes hope seem foolish.
    • But we as Christians, if we are invited to do anything, is to be the caretakers of a hopeful anticipation.
      • A recognition that the world isn't what it should be;
      • A belief that it will be in the end;
      • And have the skill and courage to work out anticipation towards hope. We keep awake. We maintain. We steward.
    • In our time for the work of the people, I invite you to think about that. Let me know. Use the cards. Leave something on the Facebook page under the sermon this afternoon.

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