10 December 2011

SERMON OUTLINE: Advent 3B - John 1:6-8, 19-28

Here is an outline for tomorrow's sermon titled: "Among You Stands One Whom You Do Not Know." The conclusion is not shown on this outline but I will share it with you below. 

Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. World War II was also brought to mind this week in the largest evacuation of a German city since WWII. Koblenz, Germany was evacuated last Sunday after unexploded bombs from World War II were found in a nearby river. The dramatic story of the defusing of these weapons inspires reflection on the "unexploded bombs" that lurk beneath the surface of so many of our relationships with family members and friends.

As the holidays approach, what bombs will we encounter as we gather around tables for meals and conversation? Alcohol abuse, infidelity, drug abuse, mental illness, sexual addiction?

What bombs will we bring with us? Anger, resentment, jealousy, bitterness? And perhaps the most important question of all: How can we defuse these bombs? John the Baptist suggests we get in touch with the one among us whom we do not know, the Christ within us, the hope of glory.

The early disciples interaction with Jesus was experiential. Jesus invited them to "come and see" and they came and saw. They gained insight found only at the level of profound trust. John the Baptist challenges us to explore the secret places within us where the bombs lay buried under the surface. Superseding John the Baptist, Jesus invites us to explore the Christ within us. There we find the God of "peace that passes all understanding." 

This Advent may the lyrics of that beautiful anthem become our inner battle cry: "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."

P.S. I will post the text version of this sermon next week. Soon I plan to start posting weekly videos of each sermon.