I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

Exactly two weeks ago today a lone man walked into a small church in Texas

and opened fire on the 52 persons gathered for worship. This is not a sermon on either the positive nor negative aspect of owning a gun but rather about the people who died there that day and what others said about them.

And the one word that was said about each of those people young or old was Hope. These Scriptures before us today remind us of the readings we will encounter in the season of Advent. Today is the advent of Advent, the beginning of the beginning. And the one word that comes from both Paul’s letter to the church in Thessolonica and the gospel of Matthew is Hope.

Live in hope for what has been promised but has not come to pass; what will be but is not yet. In order to sustain such a hope we also must focus on living faithfully, courageously, because so many are so frightened about where human history seems to be headed.

The German author Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to a young man who dreamed of being a poet in his book Letters to a Young Poet. Rilke writes about Jesus:

“Why don’t you think of him as the one who is coming who has been approaching

from all eternity?” Always on the horizon not quite there but always on the move from the beginning of time through it’s completion. What we have to remember about this Jesus, this God who is the God of human history

is that evil and injustice and suffering do not have the final word.