May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in your sight oh Lord our strength and our redeemer.
There’s a story:
About a wise communications professor,
who had her students engage in an exercise about observation.
She handed out a picture of an elderly man sitting on some front steps.
A young woman stood to his right:
Looking down toward him:
And a child stood in front:
Facing both of them.
The professor asked the students what they thought was happening in the
“The child and woman are caring for the old man.”
“The child is listening to a story while the mother watches.”
“Maybe they are just passing the time waiting for someone to come out of the
All sorts of stories came up until the professor finally told them what was going
on in the picture.
“The elderly man and the young woman are listening to the child telling them
She said: “Look! All of the signs are there:
The way the young woman is fondly looking down toward not just the old man:
But specifically at the child.
The man is watching the child intently.
Notice the child’s hands?
They are spread out away from the body:
And the child is leaning toward the two adults:
As if the child is emphasizing something and there are big smiles on their faces!”
The professor concluded:
“Communication is happening all the time:
We just have to pay attention to the signs.
We must be watchful and alert like Sherlock Holmes:
Noticing things that in normal life we often gloss over.”
The professor’s lesson is a lot like Jesus’ lesson in today’s Gospel reading.
Paying attention to the signs:
Being ready. Prepared:
Dressed for action with the lamps lit.
Are part of cultivating the Kingdom of God.
It’s part of the Christian life.
And we communicate our faith in our actions and words.
(By showing where our treasure is)
And also watching for where God is:
(Waiting for the master to return from the banquet)
We must ask ourselves whether or not we are being intentional about both of
Like the professor in the story said:
We are communicating all the time.
The question is:
“What are we saying as a Christian people?”
“What are we communicating to others? Christian or not?”
Whether or not we think anybody is listening:
God hears us:
And that is the most important measure of all.
It reminds me of the book of Isaiah:
Which we hear a lot from during Advent:
A season of waiting, preparation and readiness.
Conveys God’s message to the people:
A message and a call to repentance.
God has been watching the messages that they have been sending:
The messages they’ve been sending through their patterns of living:
Of giving lip service through their prayers:
Their sacrifices that were not really sacrificial.
The festivals that held little meaning to the heart.
God saw a people who were glossing over the work of the soul.
And the effects were detrimental to the society.
They committed acts of evil.
They did not seek after justice.
The most marginalized in Israelite society—the orphans and widows--
They were not prepared.
They were not paying attention.
They were not noticing this signs all around them.
We might look at this and think:
How little have we learned?
In our modern society:
We can hear God crying out through the oppressed:
Through the orphans whose parents have been killed by the evil of gun violence:
Through the refugee widows of wars in foreign lands:
And through the sacred places that have been violated by another’s judgment.
The signs are all there:
And God is calling out to us:
Be dressed for action!
Have your lamps lit!
Be ready to do your part!”
Are we willing?
Are we ready?
Do we have the depth of faith to answer the call?
The questions are difficult:
And the answers take courage.
And it’s even more difficult and courageous than we like to admit.
Who was the Archbishop of Canterbury during World War II said:
“The church is the only cooperative society in the world:
That exists for the benefit of its non-members.”
Think about that.
We exist to benefit non-members.
We exist to benefit the people who are not us.
According to our Catechism:
Which is in the back of the Prayer Book:
Our assurance as Christians is:
“That NOTHING not even death, shall separate us from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This assurance gives us the faith to share this promise with others:
Those who are the reason we exist:
Those non members.
And our Baptismal Covenant reinforces this:
When it asks us to persevere in resisting evil,
To repent and return to the lord:
Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ:
To seek and serve Christ in all persons:
To strive for justice and peace among ALL people:
Respecting the dignity of every human being.
It’s a tall order.
But we don’t have to strive alone:
We have God and each other.
But sometimes looking outside our walls is overwhelming.
Sometimes we don’t know where to begin:
Sometimes, we’re like the people that Isaiah was lamenting about.
Most of all:
It is sometimes difficult to interpret those messages that we keep watch for:
It’s hard to interpret those moments from ordinary life like the elderly man and
Listening to the child.
And even harder to listen to God.
If we’re really faithful,
If we’re really willing to observe and listen to God:
We’ll finally be able to see the Him in the normal every day:
Right in front of our eyes.
Only when we’re ready to observe that, can we act:
Only then will we be ready.
When we listen:
Paying attention to one another.
Only when we exist for the non-member:
Then we’ll be dressed for action.
Then our lamps will be lit.
Enjoy the weekly sermons at anytime.