1st Sunday of Advent
As our body requires oxygen to move, to breathe, to know the taste of life
So too our soul needs HOPE to press on where there is no light, no touch-stone
HOPE for we mortals is the essences of being; when hope is crushed, removed
We are a skeleton, no flesh, no strength to move us on.
HOPE is like the sun is to the day, light for us to play; the well spring of Wisdom to be living NOW, the awaited dream of expectation, aspiring us to be real.
HOPE in the waiting is like the wings of the dove, lifting us high above the daily commotion (routine) on the current of faith and prayer, aspiring us to new elevations.
HOPE is the light we use to shine upon the path of life, as well as the light to reflect who we are; in spirit and truth as we embody the deeds of hospitality, kindness, peace.
HOPE can be the transfiguration of old to new; no longer bogged down by “what if” but rather the uplifting surge of anticipation that calms and wills our soul to hang in.
HOPE is not ours to own but we need to prepare, be ready to wait, for we do not know exactly when hope will push us out to the deep, to believe Jesus is capable, capable of working his personification through our words and deeds
For the purpose of His kingdom come; His will be done; as much as you have done to these little ones, you have done it as unto Me; the Shepherd of Souls*, (be they new or old). As we open up our present moment for our soul to breathe, the remarkable power of HOPE!
*acknowledgement All Souls’ Day, 2nd November. \ Inspiration: sermon by Sonya Lewthwaite\ © stephen c douglas 12 November 2017
2nd Sunday of Advent
Saying prepare the way of He who comes in the name of the Lord
He brings ‘peace’ not as the world knows but a peace which
Firstly is a message of good tidings to be proclaimed with a loud voice
PEACE is a message we can demonstrate not by words but with action
As you do it unto these little ones, you do it as much as unto Me.
The best messenger is the one whom lives and breathes their message
Whom are your messengers; from whom have you received a helping
Hand to be found reading this poem of PEACE - are others rushing
To you to know your message of Hope and Peace in their troubled place?
You don’t have to be an Isaiah, John, or Mark to be a God Messenger
Angels come in many different forms; some announce their message
In a wilderness - dressed basically; sandals, camel cloth, eating honey
Others are held in awe as they pass on their message, announcing a Saviour
Is born, the ultimate messenger to mankind. A new beginning when all seems
Lost on a hill not far away, “Father I commit these to you for your keeping”
You are not alone, I breathe my Spirit into your soul, don’t be afraid for I have
Overcome the world of pain and loss; my PEACE is what I leave with you
Be restored, be made whole; transformed by the message, ready for a…..
New beginning. . . . .
*In peace will I lie down, for it is You, O Lord,
You alone who makes me to rest secure.
Be it on Your own beloved arm,
O God of grace that I in peace shall awake.
Be the peace of the Spirit mine this night (and day)
Be the peace of the Son mine this night (and day)
Be the peace of the Father mine this night (and day)
The peace of all peace be mine this night (and day)
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
*words taken from Aidan compline; bracketed (and day) my addition\ Inspiration: sermon by Glenys Palmer\ © stephen c douglas, 11 December 2017
3rd Sunday of Advent
JOY “Gaudete in Domino semper”
It’s been said: JOY is Jesus, Others, Yourself; that’s the theme
Which came to me, on this the third advent Sunday.
Loving God, we open ourselves to you, trusting that this is how
You made us: you created us for JOY-filled (not full) lives.
JOY - What does it mean is the asked question? As the children’s
Story is told - Kind Oxen saying, Come in, (lonely, lost, least) there’s
Always room for a little one. The last to come in was tired donkey
Carrying Mary with child and Joseph aside; and Oxen chimes
Come in, there’s always room for one more to share our straw
So, Jesus was born amongst JOY-filled animals in a manger.
Activity is our mantra: we be busy with ‘this ‘n’ that’ especially
Now at Christmas; bustling ‘here ‘n’ there’ to purchase gifts
To sit around our tree, but where be the gift of JOY?
In the mist of everything going on JOY can be the candle bright
Which we light, as we offer others the warmth of place and heart.
As the hymnist penned the chorus, *“O come into my heart
Lord Jesus, there is room in my (life) heart for you”. Let it be with
JOY (Jesus, Others, Yourself); pause, draw aside, to lay
Your gifts and treasures at your Lord and Saviour’s side.
JOY is found when like Kind Oxen
We find and carry out our mission in life
So today we open ourselves to J-O-Y
Trusting that God has already planted it in us;
All we need to do is give it care and offer it to share!
“Rejoice in the Lord always”
*Hymn 206; There Is Room in My Heart for Thee | Emily E. Elliott\ Inspiration: sermon by Karl Dickson. \ (Room for Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell) \ © stephen c douglas, 17 December 2017
4th Sunday of Advent
Wise men travelled from the East as the Holy Family came to Bethlehem
Guided by prophetic light Joseph took Mary to be his wife
They found no place to rest except a humble manger with some sheep
Tired and weary from heat, Mary with child, gladly let it be.
Joseph thought to leave Mary but in a dream he was warned not to
For the child she bears is the promised hope for mankind,
A saviour from the house of David, a light, prophesied a long time ago
An angel came to Mary, saying be not afraid, I come to you with peace
Be assured, the child you must keep is the promised Messiah
Mary filled with wonder went to Elizabeth, there she sung her song of joy
Both rejoiced for each other’s child; hope in heart Mary returned
Joseph encouraged, took Mary, though with child, to be his wife
By political decree the Holy Family travelled; impossible as it may seem
They are our light today - know you can be chosen, to fulfil a divine decree
Encounters with God are possible for all of us; stop, listen, notice
In many cases ordinary ones are blessed to be messengers of LOVE
While shepherds watched their flock at night, angels came and a light
Shone around; saying we come with good news, man’s Saviour is born
In Bethlehem, be on your way and homage pay, as ye to be lights of LOVE
Immediately the shepherds respond to what they had been told,
Seeking out the promised child, they find him in a manger wrapped
In clothes of hope, peace and joy, gazing back, with eyes of LOVE
Magi came, as light from East, to Jerusalem guided by a special star
Asking where they may find the new born king of the Jews?
Their gifts they left and being warned, returned a different way
The candle of God’s LOVE fills us all the time and Christ’s light is able
To spread out everywhere, when we are not afraid to believe
As Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family of Galilee, did so many years ago
Inspiration: Song of the holy family, sermon by Caro Willis \ © stephen c douglas, 24 December, 2017