Preached by the Rev’d Nicholas Lang
St. Paul’s on the Green, Norwalk, CT
Advent Lessons & Carols – The Second Sunday of Advent – December 5, 2010
Welcome to St. Paul’s and to our annual Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols. It occurs to me that the procession the acolytes and choir made to the several stations or stopping points around the church is a kind of metaphor for our life journey.
All of us move through a series of stations—from experience to experience, event to event, encounter to encounter; sometimes to adversity, sometimes to excitement, sometimes to uncertainty, sometimes to joyousness; all of this a part of the journey. We may be in one kind of emotional, physical, or spiritual place this year, far different from where we were last year, and from where we may land in the coming year.
It’s a mixed bag this drama we call “Life” and I think that one of the greatest challenges it poses is the ability to say “yes” to the unknown, the very next station or stop to which we may come, the next experience upon which we may stumble, with hope and expectation that it may be a sacred encounter given to us as a gift by the Creator God—a moment of grace—even perhaps, an opportunity for transformation.
It’s all about saying “yes” to the what we don’t yet know, to what awaits us in those various stations along the way of the journey. That’s what made Christmas possible and we are here today to tell that story in readings and song and ritual. But, in fact, isn’t saying “yes” to the possibilities what makes any miracle possible. “Yes” is the magic word, the“abracadabra” of living a life of deeper meaning and purpose?
Thinking again about the procession today and its graceful choreography, I am reminded of something Mother Barbara Brown Taylor, one of the most renowned preachers I know, has to say: “In this divine dance we are all dancing, God may lead but it is entirely up to us whether we will follow. Just because God sends an angel to invite one girl onto the dance floor is no guarantee she will say yes. Just because God sends us a prophet to tell us how life on earth can be more like life in heaven does not mean any of us will quit our day job to make it so. God acts. Then it is our turn. God responds to us. Then it is our turn again.”
The only thing about which we can be sure in the divine dance of our lives is this: we have a partner who is with us and for us and who wants us to have new life. Throughout all of time, God has been known to intrude on us, to step on to the dance floor at one of those out of the blue, unanticipated stations of our lives to tell you that you have been chosen to be someone through whom God acts, someone who will be a blessing to the world and partner in the building of a new creation.
Where ever you are on your journey, at whatever kind of station or stop you find yourself, you are welcome here. I invite you to peruse the several Advent and Christmas celebrations that we will offer. I’d call your attention to the Festival of Christmas Lessons & Carols on Sunday, December 19, at 5 0’clock; the Celtic Eucharist of Comfort, Healing, and Hope for those struggling this holiday season – Thursday, December 23, at 6 pm and, of course, our wonderful Christmas Eve Services.
Please join us following this service in the parish hall for a festive Advent reception.