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1st Sunday of Advent [B], 2017 December 2-3, 2017

Posted on 03 Dec 2017, Pastor: Rev. Jeff McGowan

1st Reading: Isaiah 63: 16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7  Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways

Psalm 80  Rouse your power and come to save us.

2nd Reading: 1 CORINTHIANS 1;3-9  God is faithful and by Him you were called to fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

A professor was invited to speak at a military base and was met
at the airport by a soldier named Josh. As they headed toward the
baggage claim area, Josh kept going off—once to help an older
woman with her suitcase, once to help an overwhelmed mom by
lifting up two toddlers so they could see Santa on TV, and again to
stop and give someone directions. The bags would of course be slow
coming, so there was no hurry. The professor was impressed. He
asked the soldier, “Where did you learn to live like that?” “During my
time in Iraq,” Josh said. He explained, they never knew when there
would be an IED explosive planted on the roads they drove through.
He saw good friends die right before his eyes. I never knew whether
the next bump in the road would be my last. “I learned that you have
to live before you die. So I had to get every good I could out of every
moment over there and I just keep that attitude.”

Back in the 1900s when I was young, I considered death more
a theory than a concern. That battle-tested soldier Josh is wise for his
years. We can make his attitude our attitude. Whether we speak
literally or figuratively, the next bump in the road could be our last.
We want to take every opportunity to live as Jesus taught by reaching
out in love to help our neighbors.

The idea of expressing love is treated by many like the book we
have been meaning to read or the phone call we intend to make or
the Christmas decorations we’ve been meaning to get down from the
attic. Our will is genuine, our intentions are good, but there are
always good reasons why we don’t accomplish it.

Some things should not be put off. A spouse who needs you to
listen to what happened needs you to listen now even if it is a great
game; a child who comes running to us for a hug or lavish
exclamations of praise needs it now, not when we are in a better
mood. When a friend requires you to stand with him to face the
school bully, it’s not about convenience. When someone we love
needs reassurance we don’t want to put it off for any reason. Love is
a commitment that assures we will be there when we are needed.
The feeling that there might be a more convenient time to love has
caused many people a lifetime of regret.

Thank God our lives are not as tragic as soldiers in a war, but
we don’t know the day or the hour when the Lord will come. We can
live every moment like that young soldier with kindness, generosity,
courage and faith. This year is a special year for each one of us; it’s
the year we decide to prepare the way for the coming of our Christ;
it’s our opportunity to adjust our attitudes as needed so the good
news will take us every step of the journey ahead.