Sermon for Advent 1 – 12.3.23

+ 1st Sunday in Advent – December 3rd, 2023 +

Series B: Isaiah 64:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 11:1-10

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Making An Entrance”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Whenever our family goes to a baseball game, one of the things we enjoy – besides the game itself of course – is listening to and making comments about the players’ walk-up songs. We even play a little game debating the finer points of what makes a good walk-up song and what song we would choose if we were the ones approaching the plate. A Taylor Swift song? Johnny Cash? Guns N Roses? Kidzbop? Kenny Chesney? It’s a small, but important detail…it’s about making an entrance.

 

Today on this first Sunday in Advent the church is making an entrance into a new church year, a new season. Advent begins. Christmas is approaching. We’re longing for and praying for Christ’s promised return. And what’s our walk-up music for this first Sunday? How do we make an entrance into this Advent season? We hear it in today’s Gospel reading from Mark 11:

And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

Mark 11 is Jesus’ walk-up song to holy week, to his Thursday night Passover with his disciples, to the giving of the Lord’s Supper, to his betrayal, to his trial, beatings, and mockery he will endure, to his crucifixion, death, and burial.

 

We’re used to hearing this Gospel reading on Palm Sunday as we enter into Holy Week. So at first it might seem like an odd thing to be hearing – what with all the lights and sounds of Christmas already around us everywhere. Why are we hearing about holy week when it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas? There’s a good reason for it. In Advent we look backwards and forwards and we look around at the present. We look backwards and rejoice that Jesus made an entrance into our fallen world, that he came in the flesh to save us. To paraphrase an old saying, He came, He saw, he conquered death and sin on the cross for you.

 

We also look forward to  Jesus’ second coming, his advent in glory on the Last Day. We long to see and hear the final walkup song of angels and trumpets and our Lord’s return. And while we wait, we look around at the present. Jesus comes to us, making an entrance into our lives and ears, hearts and minds by his holy word, by his holy supper, by gathering us together as his people around his gifts.

 

Because of all this, Advent is a season of preparation. Like John the Baptist standing in the wilderness preparing the way of the Lord, so too, the Advent season prepares us for Jesus to make an entrance now with his word and sacraments, and when he comes again in glory; he prepares us with humility, yet hope; with patience, yet trust in his promise; he calls us to repentance but also to rejoice.

 

Yes, even in Advent we join the Palm Sunday crowds in singing Jesus’ walk-up song, as he makes his entrance still for us in his body and blood in the bread and wine. We sing those very same words.

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

This song the crowds are singing is an ancient song. It is the walk-up song the prophets have been singing for centuries, preparing the way for the Messiah to make his entrance. Zechariah and Isaiah and God’s people sang it over the years of longing and expectation. Hosanna. Lord, save us.

Hosanna is our Advent song too. This is the prayer of Advent, the prayer of our lives: Hosanna. Lord, save us. Too long have we sat in darkness. Too often have we entered into sin, and given into our own selfishness, and self-serving ways. The prophet Isaiah is right about us.

 

in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
We have all become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

 

The truth is, we don’t deserve to enter into our Lord’s presence, and yet in his mercy, in his grace and lovingkindness, what does our Lord do? Jesus makes an entrance. He cues up the Old Testament walk-up song of salvation as he steps up to the plate, as he journeys to the cross for you.

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

Jesus entered Jerusalem for you. He entered the upper room and broke the bread and poured the wine for you, declaring that this is his body and his blood for your forgiveness. And then to make sure of your eternal entrance into his kingdom he walked out of Jerusalem for you and entered into death in your place; he entered the tomb for you. And he rose again three days later for you. And so today, in Advent, and every day until Jesus returns, we enter into God’s house where Jesus enters our own lives with his word, water, body and blood.

 

For all the times you cry out, Lord, save us. Lord, have mercy; for all the times we’ve failed to cry out for mercy – our Lord Jesus made his Advent entrance in the manger and on the cross to save you.

 

Jesus hears our Advent cry for mercy. He hears our Hosanna, Lord, save us. He hears. He remembers. And when he remembers, he acts. Jesus enters into our lives of loneliness, pain, suffering, guilt, sin, and death, and he takes it all upon himself, and he speaks a word that enters our hearts and minds: his word of forgiveness and peace and joy.

 

That is what he was doing when he entered Jerusalem back in Mark 11: entering Jerusalem to save you. This what he will do again when he returns in glory; he will make an entrance in glory so you will enter the new Jerusalem and join in the marriage supper of the Lamb. And this is what our Lord does for us today and every day as enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.

Hosanna! Blessed is are you who come in the name of the Lord Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977