June 22, 2021

Gladness and Praise in God’s Garden 13-12-2020

Advent 3 13th December 2020 (Isaiah 61:1-11; Like 1:46-55)
By Heeyoung Lim
Gladness and Praise in God’s Garden

The God in whom we rejoice, prepares our hearts for the coming of the Lord. We light the candle of joy on the 3rd Sunday of Advent. We are glad indeed, to be together in the House of the Lord! I hope God will fill us to overflow with the joy of the Lord, and our hearts will be filled with laughter.

Light and joy flashed from God’s words. Two couples looked forward to the birth of their first child. A hint of fear and wonder tingles the expectancy and excitement.
Mary’s faith displayed itself in praise, Mary praised God for his great acts for her. Her praise included two actions: giving glory to God and rejoicing in the presence and actions of God. The Lord had looked down on Mary with loving care. Knowing the low socioeconomic status in which she was embedded in. God had placed her in a state of blessing, because of Jesus. She did nothing to earn or deserve this, but the almighty God had caused it with his mighty acts. (Luke 1:46)
He reaches down in mercy, finding in each generation people who worship him. He also pays careful, loving attention to the humble, raising them up to new people of importance (50) Loving salvation for an undeserving people, and God does what he promises (54) God gave her a song of praise, and Mary was willing to bear the disgrace to become God’s instrument of grace. (56)
In Isaiah 61:1-11, God sends his messenger to bring good news and help to all those in need who are in the post-exilic community. In Isaiah 61: 1-2, God’s salvation is related to good news, healing, liberty, and comfort.
We can hear good news when we are poor, and we can hear words of freedom when we are captive or when we are addicted to something. In addition, we will be released from what binds us when we are kind of prisoners, and we receive comfort given by God when we are mournful. Our hearts will be also healed by the Lord when we are broken-hearted.
Where is God’s transformation revealed today? In our whole life, the house of the Lord, our homes, workplaces, communities, and this precious place with the name of Leighmoor, where Jesus offers blessing for all. I believe God will be pleased more through our transformed life in Jesus.
The message from Isaiah is imaged both as a restored city and as an abundant garden (4, 11)
The world will see what God has done for Israel in the past and will know they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. (9)
That is, Isaiah’s vision is not an empty promise. It cannot be described as the pie in the sky. There is a similar expression in Korea, too. It is expressed as the bread (rice cake) in the picture.
However, God’s deliverance is real. God saved people in all of the past, present and future, and God’s salvation is here with us now. All we are invited to participate in God’s salvation through Jesus. That is our true joy, and it will be experienced by others who still do not know Jesus in the future.
The good news for God’s salvation and deliverance is for everyone. The anointed is to deliver good news to the oppressed, to wrap for healing the broken hearts, to declare liberty for the captives and an opening so the imprisoned may find release. The anointed cannot avoid vulnerability or rejection by continuous preaching and divine service. God’s anointed must confront the perpetrators and sources of oppression, marginalization, hopelessness, and despair. They lived with shame and disgrace, and they were devastated. They experienced downfall and abandonment by God, but the prophet Isaiah told them and tells us that God’s presence is real. The scripture reveals God’s special treatment and care for the lowest, and the weakest.
The words spoken are full of promise. It is not a temporary promise, it is an everlasting covenant. From verses 8 to 11, the topics of justice, hope, anticipation, deliverance, and blessing are spoken to the people. It was a promise and a reminder that God has not forgotten them.
Isaiah 61:10: I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness
the prophet begins to give praise for what God is going to do. They will dress in a fashion that indicates their rejoicing in God’s faithful act of deliverance. (10)
God restores his people to righteous living and glorious worship because the Lord loves justice, and He will let the people wear the robe of righteousness. (10) God will glorify his people by bringing them back to his house of worship.
We cannot overlook the fact that many people are feeling oppressed, broken-hearted, captive, or imprisoned in some way today, and some of them are wondering when and how God’s transformation will take place in our lives. We may have a feeling about God’s silence when we are facing difficulties and sufferings.
What do you do when that disappointment happens? There would be many things to do such as seeking, praying, and waiting!
Advent is a time of waiting and preparation for God to transform the world through Jesus Christ. Isaiah’s words tell us that the transform is not to be an empty hope but a sure promise, because the promise for recovery is already given and will be given by God.
The restoration for God’s people was God’s mission and His desire for salvation. That is why salvation is related to mission and our response. Where and how mission will happen in our lives.
There would be lots of unexpected losses in our lives, but God will provide for us and will redeem our losses. In addition, a restored community will stand as a sign of God’s blessing to the society and nations around it. To be missional is to live as a people of good news, liberation, justice, and comfort. These are the ways of God.
If our church is restored and transformed by God more and more, God will be surely pleased more. We are in God’s garden. This garden is filled with the trees of joy and beautiful flowers of gladness.
Isaiah 61 offer restoration and hope, and Isaiah guarantees that God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations (11)
As we stay and walk through the days of advent, we need to remember not just that Jesus came but why Jesus came. Jesus takes up the opening lines as a description of his ministry as he comes to bring good news to the lowly community of his day, living as they were under Roman overlordship. (1)
Today’s sermon title is “Gladness and Praise in God’s Garden” (61:1-11)
Our whole being will be joy in our God, and our soul glorifies the Lord with Joy.
This Advent Season, as we wait for the coming of Christ, may our joy inspire and empower others to join us in walking of God’s salvation and restoration through Jesus. May we keep on rejoicing and celebrating the coming of Jesus who brings us God’s garden singing, laughing, and looking to the future with hope, peace, and joy.
Our lives begin with God’s divine presence and real action. It is not a pie in the sky, it is real. The action of God meets people’s needs. I hope we never forget what God has done for us, and I pray the gladness and praise given by God will surpass in our lives with the power of Christ while we are wrestling with our struggles and joys. I believe that we will be under God’s unconditional love and His justice, and we can seek God’s will and time among the despised and rejected.
Our Christ has redeemed our world, and he leads us into a loving family. We are one in Jesus, and we are God’s family who live and love in God’s beautiful garden with great joy. No matter what happens, God loves us, and his living words continue to speak to and transform us. There may be unexpected events and storms in our lives, but we wait with eager expectation for the coming of Jesus and the kingdom of God.
Our mission needs to be giving hope to the world’s hopeless through Jesus. I hope and pray we will experience God’s blessings and know that everlasting joy is ours.

Thanks be to God! Amen

PLEASE STAND FOR ENTRY OF THE BIBLE

SERVICE OF APPROACH

PRAYER

TIS 286 Light One Candle for Hope

SERVICE OF THE WORD

Isaiah 61: 1-11; Luke 1: 46 – 55

SRC 199 I Cannot Tell

SERMON: Gladness and Praise in God’s Garden
[Sermon on Web / Hardcopies at the Door after worship]

SERVICE OF RESPONSE

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

NOTICES – OFFERTORY

TIS 647 Comfort, Comfort All My People

BENEDICTION

NOTICES:
Entry for QR Code & Sign In/Out (Up to 70)

Sunday School & Messy Church

Sunday School begins Today

Some Christmas events happening in December

16 Dec Blue Christmas (7.30pm) @ Murrumbeena UC

19 Dec Countdown to Christmas Journey Stations
(10.30-12.30) Around the MUC site

20 Dec Carol Service in MUC back garden
Leighmoor & MUC (5pm)

22 Dec Christmas Nativity Zoom
MUC & Leighmoor (4-5.30pm)

24 Dec Christmas Eve Service and Event @ Leighmoor
For Children, Parents and Grandparents (4pm)
For All Generation Together (8pm)