Hope

“Guided by the Spirit” Luke 2:25-35

I realize that this is a time for lots of celebrations for many of you.  Since tonight is New Year’s Eve, many will stay up past midnight to bring in the New Year.  Many of you hope to be celebrating victories for your football teams tomorrow, especially those of you whose favorite colors are red, crimson, or orange!

“Love Stories” Luke 2:1-14

When I go to the movie theater, Redbox, Netflix, Amazon, or other streaming sites to find a movie, I prefer something that makes me laugh, lifts me up, or makes me think.  I don’t like scary movies or dark films; for me, there’s too much darkness in the world for me to invest in a couple of hours of more darkness. 

“God’s Presence Provides Hope” Matthew 1:18-25

I think you will really enjoy this year’s Advent Devotional Book.  Every devotional centers on a scriptural name of Jesus, and my Advent sermons will seek to combine a name of Jesus with the worship theme for the day.  The prophesy found in Isaiah 7:14 was a message of hope; Immanuel, God with us, was coming.

“Hope Got in My Eyes” Luke 24:44-53

Some time ago, a rich cosmetic manufacturer retired.  His products were fabulously successful.  His friends badgered him for the secret of their success.  Year after year, he jokingly refused.  But finally he relented.  “In addition to the formulas that all cosmeticians use,” he said, “I always added the magic ingredient to mine.”

“Works in Progress” Matthew 26:26-35 Maundy Thursday

This Sanctuary was constructed in 1858, and it certainly has had a few upgrades over the past 159 years.  The bricks were baked in the sun on a nearby plantation owned by John Byne Walker; each of the bricks have a stamp of JBW on the inside.  Because they were sunbaked rather than kiln-baked, the bricks have to be sealed periodically, otherwise they serve as sponges soaking up water which then permeates the inside plaster walls.  We had the bricks sealed last summer, and now we are in process of redoing and painting some interior plaster walls.  The upkeep of our aging, beautiful historic facility is a work in progress.

“Hope Worth Waiting For” Luke 1: 26- 38 First Sunday of Advent

In addressing the theme of hope, I found myself waffling from one slant to another.  When in this type of predicament, it is generally a good idea to “get back to the basics.”  So I consulted the man who wrote a book about the basics, Mr. Webster; I looked up the word “hope” in the dictionary.  And this is what I found, “hope:‑‑ desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.”  Given this definition, we celebrate this first Sunday of Advent, this waiting for the coming of the Christ Child, this waiting for the coming of hope, this waiting for the desire accompanied by the expectation of fulfillment.