Advent1 C 2021
When I read the Gospel text for today, I thought of the 1980 Movie “Honeysuckle Rose” in which there was a song entitled “Two Sides to Every Story.” The words go like this:
There must be two sides to every story
And who's to say, who's right and who is wrong And I'm tryin' to understand why you're not with me Come on home and tell me yours I love you so.
Yes, there are two sides to every story. And there may even be two ways to tell the same story. One side of the coin is negative storytelling, and its lifeblood is fear, fueled by mistrust and hate. The other side of the coin is positive storytelling, and its life blood is hope.
Which do you think is the one used most often in the world today? If you said negative storytelling, you would be correct. There is an old journalistic adage which states “If it bleeds, it leads.” Why? Because our brains have evolved to the point that we have a greater sensitivity for unpleasant news.
In other words, unwelcome news will get our attention immediately. And our hearts beat quicker when we hear awful news.
Journalists know this. Politicians know this. Authors know this. Activists know this. If you want to get someone’s attention, say something negative or share a doom and gloom story and you will get the people’s attention.
Yes. There are two ways to tell a story. Take our Gospel reading for example. The Gospel text for today can be good news; or it can be bad news. During the Advent Season we look forward to Christ’s coming as a little child in Bethlehem, but we also look forward to the time when Christ shall come again to reconcile the world.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who use the Advent texts to inform us why we should be afraid of the end times, and why we do not want to meet God face to face. In their eyes, the Second Coming of Christ is not a joyful event but a day of reckoning.
But that is not the only way to tell the Advent Story.
The positive way to tell the story is to read the text in the context of the day. When these signs in the first few verses of the gospel are read as foreshadowing the fall of the Roman Empire, the Advent scripture passage today is actually quite comforting.
For you see for a people living under Roman rule, the news that the Roman Empire would not last forever would indeed be good news. And Verses25-28 speak about a time when Gods’ people will be set free from their oppressors and delivered from all the pain and suffering caused by their enemies.
Verse 28 explains “When these things (when these signs) begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Yes, the arrival of the Son of Man in all His glory might be scary to those who have rejected Him. But for those who seek the Kingdom of God,they will receive the redemption that God wants to give to all His children.
As the popular hymns states: Seek ye first the kingdom of God. And His righteousness; And all these things shall be added unto you. Allelu, Alleluia.
Yes, there are two sides to every story. One way to preach our Advent text today is to scare the daylights out of everyone.But the other way is to proclaim that when these signs take place, the Day of Salvation is near. Therefore, rejoice,and be glad. Yours is the Kingdom of God.
Jesus is not inviting us to look for fearful signs. When you see the fig tree starting to bloom, you know that summer is coming, and the tree will bring good things. So go and be on the lookout for signs of God’s Kingdom breaking into our world.
During the Advent Season, do not let worry, fear, or tribulation get in the way of your relationship with God.
Advent,after all is, about Good News. Advent is about the coming Kingdom of God. And I must tell you, now more than ever we need Advent. We need Advent to help us see beyond our present world. We need Advent to give us a lens through which we can see God at work in our world when only evil seems to get the spotlight. We need Advent to assure us that God has indeed secured a future for us, and that God is actively involved in fulfilling His plan today.
Yes.There are two sides to every story. This morning the Gospel of Luke is telling us his side of the story. May we too see signs of God’s work in this world, so we may go and tell our side of the story of Jesus and His love.
Let us pray: Faithful God, your promises stand unshaken through all generations. Renew us in hope, that we may be awake and alert watching for the glorious return of Jesus Christ, our judge and savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.