Alarm Bells
Matthew 24:26-44
Isaiah 2:1-5

(This sermon opens with the sound and sight of a piece of steel being struck by a large hammer against an anvil).  Clang, clang, clang…clang, clang, clang…clang, clang, clang.

Is everyone awake now?  My apologies to anyone whose baby was asleep a few seconds ago!  That was a deliberate attempt to wake you up, to get your attention, to get you focused on the things that are about to take place.  We just heard God’s message to Isaiah for the people of Judah and Jerusalem, which results in people turning their weapons into garden tools, to live lives of peace.  Just prior to the sermon we saw a short skit which showed us that we people have a problem with staying awake and focused, we get distracted by the things around us and lose sight of God and his will for us.

Each year at Advent we hear the same message, we don’t know the day or the hour that our Lord will return, yet during each year we tend to fall asleep, lose track a little, focus on ourselves and our goals and desires in life, we make enemies and bear grudges, we rely on ourselves instead of relying on God.  We forget the creator, the saviour, the provider and comforter.  Maybe we don’t fall completely asleep, but we do run the risk of dozing off, taking a little Nanna nap here and there along the way.

We need to have some alarm bells rung every now and then, to shake up the sawdust a little.  We need God to rattle our cage a little through his Word for us.  The season of Lent is traditionally touted as a time of repentance and turning back to God, Advent is about anticipation for the coming of Jesus, as we remember his coming as a baby, born of a virgin mother and also his return.  Advent can then also be about repentance, of being ready, for that unknown time when Christ will return to take us to be with him in that mansion he’s prepared for us.  To be ready we might just need to be shaken out of our comfort zones a bit.

Is there perhaps someone in your life that you’re avoiding because you’ve had a bit of a run in with them, or someone you’ve clashed with and not made up with?  How about we spend the lead up to Christmas beating the weapons of mass destruction we have stored up into something more worthwhile?  There is enough angst and derision in the world without us adding ours to it as well.  The two Koreas have started throwing weapons backwards and forwards over the border at each other, trying to assert their authority over each other, the Middle East is still in a state of war, many African nations and provinces are experiencing civil war or unrest.

We need to seek peace for our world, and it begins with being awake, noticing what is going on and praying about it, seeking God’s help to intervene in whatever way possible.  Peace starts within our own hearts and works its way outward in a ripple effect.  When we are at peace with ourselves and with God and others around us we are prepared and awake, ready at any stroke of the clock or clang of the anvil for his return.

Let this time of Advent be a time of joyful anticipation, for the celebration of Christ who came to bring peace on earth and goodwill to all people, for his return to take us to be with him.  He is the only one who can make us ready for his return; he is the only one that can help us be awake, and alert, ready for his return.

Come Lord Jesus, come.

Clang, clang, clang…clang, clang, clang