Sunday, November 29, 2015

2015/11/29 First Sunday of Advent - Looking for the Off-Ramp

To set the stage, I need you to think about the signs along an interstate highway like on I-64.  If you get on the highway headed West what will the sign FACING you say?  St. Louis  and obviously, if you head east, the signs facing you would say Louisville.  In other words the signs tell you where youre going, right? 

Many years ago, a group of us were driving to New York to a ski resort.  Yeah I know we could have just gone to Paoli, but well they actually have SNOW in New York.  We left on a Friday right after work and drove until the early hours of the morning.  We got somewhere near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border when we stopped for gas.  It was foggy, because of the snow melting in the area and it was dark and we werent familiar with the area.  So whoever was driving got turned around in the dark and ended up getting on the ramp headed in the wrong direction.  Most of us were half- asleep, so it wasnt until 15 minutes later that somebody looked behind us at a sign on the other side of the highway and noticed the signs said Erie, PA.wait a minutethats where WERE supposed to be headed.  Thats when we noticed the signs on our side said Cleveland, OH’ and Syracuse, NY.

Not much you can do when theres no off-ramps we had to keep driving as fast as we could in the wrong direction to find a way to get back on track.  For 22 miles, we drove the wrong way wishing to find an off-ramp.

All of us at times find ourselves headed in the wrong direction, dont we?. Imagine our lives as a highway.  One way leads to heaven and the other way leads to well.the other place. 

When were young, we rode with our parents and grandparents on this road to heaven.  They showed us how to live.  They showed us how to read the signs.  They were responsible for keeping us pointed in the right direction.  Then we got our own drivers license kinda like Confirmation we got to drive ourselves which means WE get to choose which direction we want to travel.  Often we might see the off-ramps and take an excursion to see what else is out there and completely lose sight of the highway to heaven.  Id venture to say this probably describes many of us here we got the right upbringing, but when it came to making our religion our own, many of us took the off-ramp, and headed in the wrong direction.  Many never returned.  Many of us keep driving in that wrong direction thinking someday were going to have to get turned aroundsomeday well get our lives back on track. 

Problem is - whenever we get pointed in the wrong direction, its hard to get turned around.  Often something in our lives seems to force us to push on and on.  Every day just brings us more of the same work, kids, responsibilities they keep us too busy to even THINK about making any changes to our lives.  We cant find an off-ramp.  Thats what Advent is for us: an off-ramp.  The Church in her wisdom gives us a brand-new start like a chance to re-boot and start over.  These four weeks are an invitation to get off the rat-race; to look at where we are, where weve been, and most importantly where we are headed.  If we would just stop and READ THE SIGNS, we can SEE where our lives are leading.  The signs along the highway TELL us.  If we dont like where were going, perhaps its time to turn around.

See Jesus talks about there will be signs these are signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God.  These signs are all around us even now seriously... God puts signs all around us to guide us back to the highway to heaven thing is theyre all facing away from heaven just like the signs for Louisville only point West. so unless we turn to look TOWARD heaven, we wont be able to read the signs.

Normally in Advent, one of the first words we hear is Repent.  Im going to impress you with my vast knowledge of the Greek language ok maybe the only word I know in Greek:  Metanoia.  Thats the word in the New Testament which is translated as repent.

Metanoia is more than we typically think of when we think of Repent.  It is a COMPLETE CHANGE OF MIND.  You might say it is to turn completely around to go the other direction.

This is what were called to do in Advent.  Pull off the road look at the map look at where weve been and where we are headed. And when we realize just how far off course we are, we can metanoia turn around and get back on the highway to heaven.

How can we keep ourselves going in the right direction?  This is where Psalm 25 comes in:   Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me.

God has given us the directions he even came down here and died on the cross to point us in the right direction.  Pray this psalm often in every situation God show me which way to go.  God teach me what I need to know.  Keep me pointed in the right direction.  Open my eyes to read all the signs you place around me.even the ones behind me.

No comments:

Post a Comment