3rd Sunday before Advent – Sunday 13th December 2015 – Zephaniah 3:14-end
Where are the surprises?
Whose voices do we not hear?
What challenges us?
Surprises – do you agree with what I find surprising in the text?
- It’s like reading the end of a book without knowing what’s happened beforehand. If we are preaching on this text we must give some indication of the horrors and judgements that has come before it.
- It is all in future tense. This is a promise about a time which hasn’t happened yet. Your kingdom come; your will be done…
- ‘…shame into praise and renown’ (v19) It’s the shame of disability and being excluded from society God will remove not the cause.
The voices we don’t hear – What might they say?
- Tell us when will this happen, Lord. When will your kingdom come? We want it NOW.
- ‘He will renew you in his love.’ (v17) Lord. When will your kingdom come? We want your renewal NOW.
- ‘I will bring you home.’ (v20) When will your kingdom come? We are homesick for your kingdom.
What challenges us in 2015?
- ‘Josiah (He) did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left’. (2 Kings 22:1,2) There’s both ‘stick and carrot’ in Zephaniah, prophet in the reign of Josiah. In our preaching have we abandoned ‘stick’? Perhaps judgement needs an outing. John the Baptist would approve! What might the Church of England be judged for?
- I was reminded about judgement when the ‘goings-on’ around Jimmy Savile were made known. I was so pleased judgement will occur. Perhaps older people who have experienced trauma at the hands of others will likewise be relieved their perpetrator hasn’t ‘got away with it’.
- No doubt we still haven’t got safeguarding right in 2015. Evil morphs into another form. Let’s ask for noses to sniff out evil and hands willing to renounce this evil.