Tear Open the Heavens: 2023 Advent Sermon Seeds Series

“If only you would tear open
the heavens and come down!”
— Isaiah 64:1 CEB

Anticipation awaits action. People who wait for a liberator are not merely looking for someone to make them feel good. They hope for circumstances to change. Hope too is active. Action is hopeful.

“Advent is a monumental, distinctive season when we are invited to spread the joy of waiting. We are to reaffirm the truth that we are not just celebrating the birth of Jesus, but anticipating his second coming. We hope in the knowledge that we are not just awaiting an infinitely loving God, but we are also being awaited by God.”

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Hope in Disarray

What might God be waiting on us to be or to do? Advent invites our active participation as members of the kindom of God. God calls us to be liberated and liberators, recipients and givers of grace, hopeful believers and agents of hope in the world. As we proclaim God with Us…can we commit to being people with God and people with our neighbor? Will we follow Jesus into the incarnational life in the same way that we follow Christ into the resurrected life?

Hope is embodied. Joy is embodied. Peace is embodied. Love is embodied. In the birth of Jesus, Christ is embodied. We are embodied, and we don’t have to wait for that. We don’t have to wait for our actions and attitudes to reflect the kindom.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
— Psalm 85:10-11

When we cry out for God to tear open the heavens, we affirm that there is a place where heaven and earth, the eternal and the temporal, the divine and the humane can and will meet. That is the promise, challenge, and commitment of Advent.

Tear Open the Heavens.

December 3, 2023: Isaiah 64:1-6 | “Quaking Mountains…Awesome Deeds” | Sermon Seed
December 10: 2023: Isaiah 40:1-11 | Withering Grace…Standing Word” | Sermon Seed
December 17, 2023: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 | “Ancient Ruins…Everlasting Covenant” | Sermon Seed
December 24, 2023: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 | “A Tent, A Tabernacle, A Throne” | Sermon Seed

“There is a divine dream which the prophets and rabbis have cherished and which fills our prayers, and permeates the acts of true piety. It is the dream of a world, rid of evil by the grace of God as well as by [our] efforts…to the task of establishing the kingship of God in the world. God is waiting for us to redeem the world. We should not spend our life hunting for trivial satisfactions while God is waiting constantly and keenly for our effort and devotion.”

Abraham Heschel

The Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Lindsay, Minister for Worship and Theology (lindsayc@ucc.org), also serves as a local church pastor and worship scholar-practitioner with a particular interest in the proclamation of the word in gathered communities.