On Advent Sunday, Sheila Cameron’s sermon to the St Margaret’s congregation ended with these words:
Isaiah sees the house of the Lord as being the place from which the whole earth will receive instruction in the ways of peace. The image of light is also very important in this passage. Our text ends with the call to action: “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!” Our life in Christ is a movement from darkness into light, from ignorance, depression, fear or anxiety into assurance of God’s presence with us, mediated by Christ, the one in whom God took our human nature on himself and redeemed it. With Christ we live in light, whatever the darkness of the world that surrounds us. This is the good news in which we rejoice and which we proclaim to the world in our speech, our attitude and our demeanour. In the light of Christ, everything is possible, here and now. Not when this world ends and another one begins, but right here and now.
Our Gospel reminds us that the world beyond this one is not a remote, hypothetical place but a reality that can break upon us at any time. We are to be prepared; in other words, we are to live here and now as if we were living then, in the presence of God. It’s here and now that we can know the joy of walking in the light of Christ and the safety of dwelling in the house of the Lord.
We pray that during this holy season of Advent, our Christian community might be a place where many who have been traumatised by what they have experienced in this life may find peace and joy and safety in his presence. Amen.
For an insight into Sheila’s choice of title, you’ll need to read the whole of her sermon (available at this link). In it she made reference to the international campaign “16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence” organised by the Mothers’ Union, and to the work of the charity Embrace the Middle East.