I want to begin by telling you a story. A story about a couple named Max and Madge. They were walking along a street in their town admiring all the shops with their decorations and dressed up window displays when they happen upon a church with a dimly lit crèche outside the front entrance to the building. ``LOOK! Just look at that!`` said Madge to Max, ``Even the churches are trying to `horn in ‘ on Christmas!``
So as we begin another journey into Advent and make our way to the celebrate Christmas, I want you to stop for a moment, quiet yourselves by closing your eyes, putting everything down and putting your hand in your lap... Take a couple of slow and deliberate breaths with me, in through the nose and then slowly out through the mouth... Can you smell it? The mountain air? And you feel the cool breeze? Can you see the sky above and the earth below? Can you sense the presence of God in this “thin” place? Breathe in and breathe out. Now invite you to open your eyes and ask you to look around – can you see the kingdom of God in this place? Can you expect to see Jesus in the next hour? Will you live as if tomorrow the great city of Jerusalem is going to be here from heaven and God’s presence and will fully known on the face of the earth?
When you came to this sacred place and this sacred time, what and more importantly who did you expect to see? I cannot help but think of that disciple, standing beside the great structure that was the Temple, looking at all the massive stones that had been painstakingly placed and had been consecrate by continuous prayer and worship of the faithful for hundreds of years. It was a `Little Red Riding Hood moment` as Jesus boldly points out that all this will come to an end. That there will be no more pilgrims, no more festivals, no more sacrifices and bloodletting. There will not be one stone left on another and no stone will be left in place. The disciples could hardly believe what they were hearing – the destruction of everything that makes the nation who and what they are. There is wonderment among his followers as they listen to him speak... how will we know where to meet God, to come and pray and to offer parts of our lives and to give thanks... how will we find God? He will not be in palaces or in places of prayer but in the wilderness and on a low hill outside the city walls, nailed to a wooden cross.
This is why we need to be at this moment, back on that mountain top with Jesus we need to see him for who he is and then to see what it is that God is doing. It is vital that be take this moment and see what God is doing because we need to align our hopes and our expectations both of God and of ourselves to what God is doing and calling us to do. All of us keep and have expectations – every last one of us. All of us have hopes for today and for the future. Keep in mind that God has a plan and he is working that plan in us and through us.
In sitting down on that mountain top with Jesus we can hear what he is saying to us, showing us what is going to take place and how we need to work in the midst of the trials and tribulations of our day. We can then with confidence wait on Jesus and for his return to this earth. We can wait with hope that he will establish his Father’s kingdom and that we will live in the city that God himself builds. In that we expect God to act and we can pin our hopes on him because of Jesus. Thanks be to God for that!