Lessons and Carols Second Sunday in Advent 11 AM Homily

Advent Lessons and Carols
Conclusion of Deacon Rick Erickson’s Call as Cantor
December 4, 2022: 11:00 a.m.
Malachi 3: 1-4; Philippians 1:3-11; Isaiah 35: 1-10; Saint Luke 3:1-6; Saint Luke 1:39-55

A homily is, by definition, brief; a homily before hearing the readings allow the preacher an opportunity to help each of us , not just to hear ancient texts, but to find ourselves in them and, more importantly, find Christ with us in them. That is what I hope to do.

These readings are, first and foremost, words of Promise, God’s Promise, and we must listen for God’s Promise, for Christ for us and all people, in each.

As I ponder these, I find three kinds of people, among whom we can find ourselves.

First, Hearers of God’s Word; trusters in God’s Promise: ourselves, of course, but also all those who from the beginning and over the millennia, have heard God’s Promise in the past; “the church on earth and the hosts of heaven;” whose unending hymn we join as we gather at Christ’s table.

Next, Forebears of God’s Word, exemplified by John the Baptist and the prophets, who proclaimed God’s Promise, pointed to how God’s people were experiencing God’s Promise in their day; are experiencing God’s Promise in our day; and will experience God’s Promise every day to come. Forebears of God’s Word who identified another to proclaim God’s Promise after their departure.

Last, yet never least, Bearers of God’s Word, exemplified by Mary, carrying God’s Promise, visibly and transparently in every aspect of their lives.

Hearers of God’s Word. Forebears of God’s Word. Bearers of God’s Word. As you hear the readings of such as these today, I invite you to ponder: in which of these are you? And do you find Christ with, near, or in you?

I asked this of Rick Erickson the other night and, after listening to him, I realized that he sees himself today as a forebear — a Malachi, Isaiah, or better, a John the Baptist, each of whom, like Rick when he entered our story, found times of disappointment, disarray, anxiety and chaos and in response made the rough places smooth by leading God’s people to experience joy and gladness and to enter God’s presence with singing; and as each did in their own time, identify before departing “the one to come” next and then follow the Baptizer’s maxim: “he must increase but I must decrease,” providing a smooth, loving, and respectful transition to Ben, who leads our praises, laments, and thanksgivings today and in the future.

Hearers of God’s Word. Forebears of God’s Word. Bearers of God’s Word. As you hear these readings, find yourself in one, or another, or all.

Whether you can do this or not, God promise us this: Here at this table, we will find Christ, or better, Christ will welcome us; and we will find ourselves in the present of all who hear, forebear, and bear the Word made flesh for us, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Amandus J. Derr
Interim Senior Pastor