Sermon for Sunday March 29, 2020
Sunday of Advent
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen!
“If you want to change the world, begin by making your bed every morning.” US Navy Admiral William McRaven in his speech to a graduating class of Navy Seal’s addresses his audience about how to change this world. “If you want to change the world, begin by making your bed every morning. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished your first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task…Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter.”
My dear brothers and sisters, though it may seem simple and unimportant in the grand scheme of things to begin our days by making our beds, yet, what we learn is that every small decision, every action, every choice ultimately reflects and shapes the life we live and the world in which we live that life. Today we see a world that lives in isolation, panic, fear, desperation and loss because of sickness, death and confusion. We see a world around us that, today, suffers from a pandemic known as Covid-19, but in truth it has been suffering much longer than this because of our carelessness and our lack of an appreciation for the little things in life – which leave the greatest impacts. Now you may ask, what does this have to do with our faith? In Isaiah we read, “Thus says the Lord: Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is my resting place?” (v.1)
Today, we are celebrating the Sunday of Advent, the last Sunday of Great Lent prior to Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Advent means the arrival or coming – գալուստ. And so God is asking what kind of world am I invited to come into? We always speak about Great Lent as a period of preparation. Where we have more Church services, we have Lenten dinners and we make preparations for Palm Sunday and Easter. Yet, the true preparation that we often neglect is our self-preparation.
If God were to knock on our doors today and ask to come in, what would He find? I remember growing up, my mother would make sure the house was always ready and clean and that we had baked goods in the fridge, just in case we had guests. I am sure many of us have either seen this or experienced it. Yet, how many of us take that much pride and care in preparing ourselves, and ultimately this world, for when Christ returns? Last week in the reading, Christ asked, will the Son of man find faith in the world, when he returns? My dears, “do we make our beds?”
In other words, when it comes to our faith, do we take care of the little things such as saying a daily prayer? Do we repent and come to confess our sins? Do we fast? Do we apologies, not because we were wrong but in order to build relationships? Do we live lives that show gratitude towards God? Do we chase of momentary thrills or live a life of sexual immorality? Do we make excuses as to why we don’t go to Church? Do we love God with all our heart, soul and mind and do we love our neighbors as ourselves? Do we love ourselves? Do we make our spiritual beds, my dears?
In the grand scheme of things each one of these may seem small, insignificant, unimportant or a matter of our own private lives. Yet, it is these little things that prepare us for when the greater challenges we come face to face with. So that when disease, sickness, darkness and pain surround us, we will not lose hope, we will not feel isolated but rather we will be with God, and recognize that God is there with us. “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word.” (v.2) My dears, let us take a moment to reflect, to pray, to humble ourselves and ask, are we prepared? For those of us who say yes, then we must continue to prepare to strengthen our communion with God and help others on their paths. For those of us who honestly say no, let us start by “making our beds.”
Great Lent is almost over, however, every day, every choice, every moment is an opportunity for us to prepare by turning to God and humbly in prayer asking for His love and guidance. Even if we feel our prayer is simple and small, it is the smallest things that prepare us in the biggest ways – remember the mustard seed. Therefore, my dears may we all in this time of quarantine awaken with an appreciation of preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord. Yes, the Church doors are closed, but access to God is always open and free. Seek it through the lives we live, and His love will always shine upon us and guide us to all understanding, Amen!