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it’s always got a little bit more to go than you think it’s there we go it’s done so I’m going to start us today with a passage it’s a passage that is distinctly strange if you have been a person that’s tracked and read through the bible it’s maybe a passage you may never even have read before when I picked it made sense when I looked at it this week to kind of figure out why I picked it I was like wow you really wanted to suffer today didn’t you this passage is not an easy one and so if I if I just give up and walk off stage you know why here we go josh uh sorry Zechariah chapter six verse nine if you’re following along you can open with me the word of the lord came to me take silver and gold from the exiles hell dyer tobaja and jediah even just that passage was hard to say who have arrived from Babylon go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah take the silver and gold and make a crown and set it on the head of the high

priest Joshua son of josodak tell him this is what the lord almighty says here is the man whose name is the branch and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the lord it is he who will build the temple of the lord and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne and he will be a priest on his throne and there will be harmony between the two the crown will be given to heldair tobajaya jidaya and hen son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the lord those who are far away will come and help build the temple of the lord and you will know that the lord almighty has sent me to you this will happen if you diligently obey the lord your god let us pray because that is going to take some work Jesus as we open this book that you’ve given us you have breathed into this it has come alive would you use it to

shape us as a community would you use us to shake it to shape us this advent season would you speak to your people guide us and shape us amen so what on earth does Zechariah chapter 6 verse 9 onwards have to say to us today in the 21st century if anything the passages we read it just seems kind of outdated maybe anachronistic it just feels like something that doesn’t fit much doesn’t have much to say to us today and what does it have to say in this season called advent so before we get to that first a little bit on advent so for those of you that have tracked with us for a while those of you that have stuck around the last year or so that I’ve been journeying with you may have noticed that I’m a fairly big fan of this thing called the liturgical calendar so we don’t follow it like religiously and if you grew up in a catholic church there may

be party that says I don’t know if I like that at all I didn’t come here for that there’s a great reason we follow the liturgical calendar at least in part the liturgical calendar protects you and it protects you from me it protects you from me because you may have noticed this may have picked it up I’m quite upbeat like the joke in the office is that when I try and pretend that I’m mad about something it doesn’t really come across particularly well I still say it with this silly grin on my face I’m just not very good at those kind of things and for the most part I am I respond positively to almost everything and so the danger is if I just bring my general personality to the to the stage to the teaching every single week all you get is positive and upbeat you get that repeatedly and often that doesn’t mean there won’t be times that I go

through crisis times I go through struggle times I go through grief but for the most part what you’ll get is upbeatness and that’s fine to a point but the truth is there are seasons of life where that’s absolutely not what you need you need someone who can walk with you through those journeys of difficulty of strife of angst and the liturgical calendar it forces us down those pathways it forces us into places that we may not choose to grow for those of you that have done enneagram as a personality test I’m an enneagram seven I run massively away from talking about grief and struggle I don’t like doing it and yet here I am in this season called advent because advent is not Christmas Christmas is these things Christmas is presence light and it is the joy of the word now it is god’s entry into the world in this spectacular way I picked

a passage from one of my favorite novels one that I read every year a Christmas carol by Charles dickens this is ebenezer scrooge’s nephew Fred speaking Christmas is the only time of year time I know of in the long calendar of the year when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut up hearts freely and to think of people below them as if they were really fellow passengers to the grave and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys and therefore uncle though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket I believe it has done me good and will do me good and I say god bless it that is Christmas it is presence it is light and it is joy advent is not those things I would suggest on our journey to Christmas advent is these things advent is absence and it is darkness and is the heart rendering

cry of when will these things happen we get in this season we are journeying with some of the prophets from the old testament if you’re unfamiliar with the term prophet prophets were mainly people who did fourth telling they mainly said to society you need to operate in a different way to how you’re operating now and occasionally they had these moments where they would predict in a specific way the future but they were always people that waited so we are doing advent in the company of professional waiters as it were these are people that knew what it was to wait for god’s coming in the world and at advent we get to join them and say we wait also we join with people who waited once and we too are people that wait for the coming of a king who said he will return another time constantly in this season this thing called the

church has talked about Jesus second coming that someday there is this story that is still to be complete and so we return as it were to waiting and we recognize that in that we may experience absence we may experience darkness we may experience this cry of when god will you do these things the writing of the writer Fleming Rutledge said advent begins in the dark Adam begins in the dark and in the midst of that darkness the light of Christmas springs up all the brighter because of that time in the darkness and yet the church wrestles with that thing in many ways the western church is an enneagram seven just like I am it is a organization that doesn’t like to talk about struggle and darkness we often pretend that we are above it as she unpacks this idea she talks about her experience in new York in the 80s and she talks about how

grand central station this incredibly beautiful building became a homeless encampment the benches that were formally occupied by people reading books waiting for trains were suddenly occupied by people just trying to find a warm place in which to sleep but she said what was remarkable about this was that was the ground floor and above that there was a mezzanine level sat high above it and there you could enjoy coffee for the equivalent of ten or 12 today and you could pretend that you were separate from the world that existed on the ground floor you could sit high above it and look down on the humanity that was there struggling and suffering well you stayed free from it and she said that to me is the church of today separate from the struggles of the world separate from its sense of absence and darkness and its cry of

when and perhaps we have returned to that somewhat a little bit this is los Angeles where you can drive towards the fashion and toy district while going past a huge homeless encampment of people and maybe we learn what it is to be indifferent to that and see that it is normal and I wrestle with that just personally as well right I wrestle with the fact that the other day I found one of our homeless friends that live in the area around us they were kind of hiding out in the building just trying to stay somewhere the day before thanksgiving and I said well I need to lock up the building I need to make sure that no one’s going to trigger the alarms and essentially I need you to leave and she started telling me what she felt like she needed could I put her up in a hotel room for a night could I find a way to give her something extra to sleep with and I

wrestle with the sense that I feel like I’m cored like Jesus to care for those that are the least and I wrestle with my own personal desire to get back to my family because it’s thanksgiving and I want to start my thanksgiving holiday I want to celebrate I want to pretend that those things don’t happen that they’re not there there’s that tension that the church and we as individuals find right so what I would suggest is that in advent we have this practice we who would call ourselves follower of followers of followers of Jesus and and that may not be everyone here or watching and that’s fine but we who would call ourselves children of light perhaps we live in the light of Jesus resurrection in advent the children of light refuse to live above the darkness around us in advent we refuse to live above the darkness around us we choose to enter into it

that isn’t just people that are homeless by the way that isn’t just one particular element that is the fact that each and every one of us each and every one of you has people in their life that in this advent season are wrestling with the approach of Christmas they are wrestling with the fact that they know that instinctively Christmas should be about presence and it should be about light and it should be about now but for them in this season it is about absence it is about darkness and it is about when we talked last week about Christmas as a force multiplier if you have had a great year what does Christmas do for you it makes it even better the joys the successes the wins you have had maybe the birth of a new child a new family member a new job a new group of friends a new community a new house any of those things Christmas comes

along and it brings that joy into greater relief but if it hasn’t been a good year the potential is the impending coming of Christmas it makes it tough it makes a bad year even worse all of those things those struggles may be a divorce maybe a death maybe a sickness maybe the loss of a home maybe the loss of job any of those things maybe Christmas comes along and it is a force multiplier it brings it out of relief and makes you cry when will these things change when will there be a different story Christmas is a force multiplier it makes a good year better and a bad year worse advent is an alternative season of waiting for light in the midst of darkness we wait together as a community we practice what it is to wait so what on earth does all of that have to do with Zechariah chapter six in this moment where Zachariah comes and

speaks to a community so I would suggest to understand that there’s probably a chunk of context that you may need and if you’re pretty unfamiliar with the whole church thing you may not know that central to most of this part of the bible we call the old testament the Jewish people would call their bible there is this whole story centered around a building it starts off with a tent of meeting it continues to be a tabernacle and finally there is this moment where this Jewish people build what is called the temple to understand just how central the temple is needs means that we need to grasp some of the just the enormity of it or the spectacularness of it it’s estimated that half the gold the known supply of gold in its day was in that one building not just half the gold in Israel half the gold in the entire world was used to help build

this temple that is a picture of its spectacular spectaculars its incredible nature it was this work of art and it was central to everything these Jewish people knew but more than that it was the place where god was present it was the place where god was present so let’s have a look at this passage from second chronicles chapter seven when Solomon finished praying this is the dedication of the temple fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices and the glory of the lord filled the temple the priests could not enter the temple of the lord because the glory of the lord filled it when all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the lord above the temple they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground and they worshipped and gave thanks to the lord saying he is good his love endures

forever remember that passage he um he is good his love endures forever remember the passage I couldn’t remember after just reading it a second ago this is this moment where god’s presence enters this temple this building for the first time and that changes everything you might say this for these Jewish people the temple was presence light and it was now in the same we talked about we talked about Christmas the temple was presence it was light and it was now so what happens to a people when a building is central and it is no longer there suddenly the absence of that building leads to all of the things we just talked about being about advent it is now absence and it is darkness and it is when it’s almost impossible I would suggest for us to fully understand just how much the loss of this building changed the narrative for

these people the closest maybe I could give you as an example was 911 the moment that the twin towers felt the centerpiece of the skyline of new York city something changed about the feel of the city and perhaps about the American psyche in that moment and that’s just maybe just a tiny picture of what it was for this group of people to lose their temple their centerpiece everything that their nation gathered around because god was present there and now suddenly absence darkness and this cry of when and this cry starts to starts to appear in all of the literature ridden this is psalm 79 how long o lord will you be angry forever how long will your jealousy burn like fire pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you on the kingdoms that do not call on your name for they have devoured Jacob and devastated his

homeland they have devoured Jacob and devastated his homeland this is what happened to this group of people in this story that we’re building up towards Zechariah’s time and so last week we wrestled with this promise of a prophet called Micah but you Bethlehem Ephrathah though you are small among the clans of Judah out of you will come for me a ruler whose origins are from old from ancient times Micah’s constant warning to this group of people was if you keep acting like this judgment will come things will go badly for you but even when it does eventually someone will come and bring a rescue someone will come and change the narrative again and this person he will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the lord in the majesty of the name of the lord his god and they will live securely for then his greatness will

reach to the ends of the earth it’s about expectation this thing that is still to come so we understand expectation especially at Christmas time right I did the adventurous thing the other day I climbed upon my roof and put all the Christmas lights up it was you know me versus the roof I’m there hovering over the edge at different points and and at one point laura said to me are you not going to put them around the other side I was like well the the other side has a 30-foot drop are you sure you want me on the other side I mean I feel I should check life insurance policies and everything before I get around there and and as I’m most of the way through this project I have this moment where I remember I didn’t check the lights worked before I put them up there like that’s like rookie stuff like that’s error number one you always check the

lights I mean I trust amazon kinda but I hadn’t checked them and so then there is the moment where you get to plug them in and you get either the answer to your expectations or the failing of your expectations that’s just a a minor picture an everyday example of just generally how expectations can affect that Christmas season but for these guys expectation is now building around something a prophet has said years ago you might say Micah’s words could be understood as wait for a time when your past will become your present wait for the story to be recovered wait for a new thing to emerge but these people often captivity who finally return I would suggest that’s not what the experience Samaria fell in 701 and Jerusalem in 597 bc there’s this moment where it seems like all of the dreams are dashed and then in 587 king

nebuchadnezzar comes back to Jerusalem and he destroys the temple he lays it to the ground he takes away everything valuable and most of the people it seems like the story dies there again lurking in the back though some kind of promise and remarkably miraculously these people do return in a sort of world system where every king every conqueror has said this what you do is you take the people you’ve conquered and you transplant them to other areas because they have no loyalty to that land and they’ll just allow you to continue to rule them there is no risk in that someone comes along and says no we’re going to do this differently we’re going to send people back to the land that they’re from because they’ll actually be more loyal to the land and more caring over it nurturing of it if it if it’s their land somehow this people

find their way back and the first thing they do is begin to build this temple again this thing that has been the centerpiece they start to raise it up from the ground this story is captured in a book called Ezra when the builders had laid the foundation of the temple of the lord the priests in their apparel with trumpets and the Levites with symbols took their positions to praise the lord as David king of Israel had prescribed and they sang responsively with praise and thanksgiving to the lord for he is good for his loving devotion to Israel endures forever remember those words you’ve heard them before then all the people gave a great shout of praise to the lord because the foundation of the house of the lord had been laid this is a good story right this is what we’re hoping for this is a story that has become broken and surely now it

has been rebuilt this is good news the old song is sung we remember this moment where the old song was sung and the presence of god filled the building surely this is a good story but ezra goes on to say this but many of the older priests and levites and family heads who had seen the former temple wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid while many others shouted for joy those who had seen the old story wept aloud because the new story doesn’t live up to the old story the new temple doesn’t live up to the old temple the old song is sung but this new story this new story is a disappointment and maybe an advent that kind of captures our attention maybe there’s new stories that you are living this year that you might say in your honest moments they don’t meet the old story standards the foundation has been

laid but it’s not the same as the old foundation maybe the new group of friends isn’t as good as the old group of friends maybe that story hasn’t lived up to what you told maybe the second marriage isn’t as good as the first marriage maybe the new house you don’t like it as much as the old house maybe the new business the new job it doesn’t seem like it fits maybe there’s just something in your life that that has changed in this year that you’re like seems like the old story was better it seems like this story doesn’t live up to that Zechariah speaks to a people facing a new reality that disappointed their expectations that disappointed their expectations and maybe that’s us at times too there’s expectations we have expectations of a news story we think might be emerging we’re like it’s not not what I hoped is this it that’s the cry of these

people is this it god remember the old temple remember half the gold in existence remember the size the glory of it remember what happened when we sang these songs before and now we’re doing those things again and this is it this is the foundation this isn’t this isn’t what I’m here for is this all you have for us this is the group of people that Zechariah is speaking to and this text that we read earlier is what he gives them and the text is strange because I would suggest the first half that we read is grounded in everyday reality it talks about historical people and then just as prophets often do somewhere in that Zechariah starts speaking not about historical people not about events in front of him but about things that are happening that can’t necessarily be seen yet but will happen one day the word of the lord came to me takes

silver and gold from the exiles heldair tobaja and jedi that’s the first time I’ve said all the names right who have arrived from Babylon go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah take the silver and gold and make a crown and set it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of josodak all of those historical people historical things that could be happening and then he says this tell him this is what the lord almighty says here is the man whose name is the branch he uses this piece of language that slowly over time in the language of Israel is becoming to mean something very specific often in the old testament we’ll read this idea of a branch and it is this I idea that is specific specifically messianic it is this idea that is slowly developing that god will send someone to bring his people into a different story into a new story Zechariah in this

moment in the midst of a story that’s disappointing in the midst of a new story that seems like it’s not complete starts to say there’s still a story emerging here is a man whose name is the branch this idea of branch is this Hebrew word samak it’s a sprout it’s growth it’s something that’s still growing a sign that something is alive it’s a sign that something is alive it’s as though god says know this story I’m growing here it’s still developing there are still things happening it’s not the first time that Zechariah has used this word in chapter three he said this listen high priest Joshua you and your associates seated before you who are men you are men of symbolic things to come I’m going to bring my servant the branch this story again starting to emerge this idea shoot this is Isaiah a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse from his roots a branch

will bear fruit the spirit of the lord will rest on him the spirit of wisdom and of understanding the spirit of counsel and of might the spirit of the knowledge and the fear of the lord and he would delight in the fear of the lord Jeremiah later will say similar things the days are coming declares the lord when I will raise up for David a righteous branch a king who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land in his days Judah will be saved Israel will live in safety this is the name by which he will be called the lord our righteous savior these are all passages that later writers would come to see as reflecting Jesus and his advent his coming into the world it’s this idea that’s starting to develop in this Jewish literature that’s emerging and all point towards this idea this new story is a disappointment but this new story isn’t finished this

new story isn’t finished this story isn’t finished because this story is still growing this story is still growing and I wonder in advent in a season where we reflect on darkness when we reflect on absence when we reflect on this cry of when whether that idea isn’t something that you and I deeply need as well I would suggest whatever the tension is with your story it is still growing and it isn’t finished yet I love thinking about how creativity emerges how different people I’m always amazed by people’s creative abilities and the author Malcolm Gladwell does a bit of an investigation on this where he looks at how genius develops or how it works specifically about how time is needed by some types of geniuses and not by others he unpacks a whole conversation had by this guy whose name is Leonard Cohen with this guy whose name is bob

Dylan so Leonard Cohen some of you may be aware wrote that famous song hallelujah it’s the one that gets sung at every single talent show on television somebody will always sing hallelujah and I thought I would sing it for you this morning I’m not going to do that no one would allow that to happen there’s limits to my abilities to make things happen that would be a terrible idea we’d empty the building but you’ve heard it multiple times that song with its just delightful contemplation on a human experience human existence Leonard Cohen when meeting bob Dylan happened to say to bob Dylan bob I love your song blowing in the wind how long did it take you to write that song and bob Dylan being bob Dylan said 15 minutes I was on a plane there was a napkin in front of me I thought you know what I’m just gonna pen down

some lyrics and this song emerged in a moment just boom there it was just create it and then bob Dylan looks at Leonard Cohen and says I love your song hallelujah which was remarkable because at this point nobody had heard of hallelujah hallelujah didn’t even become famous till a guy called jeff Buckley did a cover of it and even then it took jeff Buckley committing suicide for it to really gain any mainstream sort of attraction it was an unknown song and yet Dylan was captivated by some of the lyrics that Leonard Cohen had used and so he says how long did it take you to write hallelujah and then Leonard Cohen kind of hangs his head and he says two years and he was lying it took him six he could never quite get the lyrics right he wrote 60 different verses and he would change which verses he wanted to use and sometimes he would

drop the religious image imagery and sometimes he would keep it he was constantly playing with this thing trying to get it to make sense bob Dylan creates in a moment Leonard Cohen it takes him a long time to produce this genius the thing has to grow same is true of these two artists this is Paul Cezanne and this is Pablo Picasso both considered geniuses though my art confession is this I love art but I think Picasso is terrible I don’t know what this is as a piece of art it’s just I’m just baffled that this is famous but regardless both of them considered geniuses Picasso creates in a moment he sits in his studio and he throws paint on the screen and onto the canvas he just comes out of him like that Cezanne takes forever his portraits would take him 150 different sessions to complete he’d leave artwork sitting there for years and then come

back to it and change it and tweak it finally he would get to what he thought was that masterpiece and when he said how he how he judged his art was this he would look at it and he would put it alongside something god had made and say does it fit there and if it didn’t it was terrible he’d destroy it and if it did he’d celebrate because he said I’m just trying to pull out the incredibleness of god’s creation Cezanne takes time Picasso in a moment Leonard Cohen takes time bob Dylan in a moment and as I think about that I wonder which of those is god more like or which of those is more like god because god does have this capacity clearly to create in a moment we read these stories and yet my experience of interacting with god is this it takes time he has changed me over the years I have developed it has been a hard and difficult

process mainly because I must be hard and difficult to work with but he’s still growing a story inside me and he’s still growing a story inside of you and without knowing who Leonard Cohen was or who Paul Suzanne was Zechariah seems to say to this group of people god is still growing a story and at times that takes time the story is still growing your story is still growing wherever you are in those different journeys it seems like god is still at work the story isn’t finished yet the story isn’t finished yet the new story is disappointing because the new story isn’t finished there is still a story that has to emerge and then Zechariah goes on to say something that maybe even more cryptic that we’ll just wrestle with for just a moment it is he who will build the temple of the lord and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne

and he will be a priest on his throne there’s this idea in Zechariah about the coming together of kingship and the priesthood now in Israel’s history there had been a tension here from the beginning the first king of Israel a guy called Saul had killed a huge chunk of the priests and then gone into the nearest town and killed everyone in that town as well so from that time the tension there between these two different types of rulers was pretty present pretty obvious at different points somewhere the idea of Zechariah is someone will come along who will bring these two things together and as these ideas develop as people these Jewish people waited as we wait for this person called messiah the idea became that he would be a king yes but a priest also but how do those two things how do those two streams those two ideas fit together he

says that this person will come and do something within the temple he will build the temple he will make it what it will be and yet this temple is never the same quality or level as the temple that they had before people become very attached to it but not in the same way as they did the first temple but still the story of what the temple was and then Jesus stands amongst a group of people a few hundred years later and he says these words destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again let’s just go back to the verse before on account of this the Jews demanded what sign can you show us to prove your authority to do these things Jesus answered destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again this temple took 46 years to build the Jews replied and you are going to raise it up in three days but Jesus was speaking

about the temple of his body ultimately the idea within the bible is this that the temple is no longer the centerpiece of god’s presence Jesus describes his body his death his resurrection as replacing all of those things he takes over the duties of priesthood and here’s the good news in that I do not stand between you and god my job is not to enter the intermediate intermediary for you have this direct access created by this Jesus story that is emerging it’s almost as if Zachariah seeing the future can see that the temple isn’t the main story at all this story just lurks behind the scenes for 400 years 500 years and then emerges in Jesus who comes and fulfills that role of yes both king but also a priest the tension of course for all of these people had they been able to get to this point had they lived for 500 years or so to see Jesus emerges I

suspect their reaction may just have been the same as it was to this second temple that was built I think they would have seen Jesus and said is this it is this who you promised us because this doesn’t look like we want their longing was for a military king who would overthrow the romans and I wonder if sometimes our own longing goes in that direction as well I wonder how often we find tension with this Jesus who brings a kingdom that doesn’t work on the world’s terms that doesn’t operate in the way that we would like it to operate this is an upside down kingdom a strange kind of kingdom perhaps the thing that compels me about Jesus the most is I’ve yet to see a king that displays this kind of humility a god that displays this kind of humility because everything I experience in the world and everything that I see across history is god’s

making themselves bigger and higher and yet Jesus comes and he makes himself lower and that’s maybe one of the things that is so compelling about him but this promise of a of a messiah that will come and bring kingship and priesthood it is met and answered in Jesus who says forget about the temple that’s not the central thing I’m the central thing here I’m creating a finished story and that story ultimately it finds its culmination in this book revelation in chapter 21 and he carried me away in the spirit to a mountain great and high and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from god shining with the glory of god but I saw no temple in the city because the lord god almighty and the lamb are its temple god is wonderful at finishing his story and wherever the tension points in your story are just like for

these people back then I would suggest they’re there because this god isn’t finished with that story yet your story is still growing and in the midst of that for you and I this king this priest this one who has replaced the old systems who is continuing to grow and birth this story stands before the god of the universe and says I’m the intermediary I don’t need anyone on earth I play that role too now as well this is Hebrews we’ll finish with this and I’ll invite the worship team to come back on stage therefore since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven Jesus the son of god let us hold firmly to the faith we profess for we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are yet he did not sin let us then approach god’s throne of

grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need this picture that we’re given of Jesus in the moment where our story seems broken and fractured in a moment of disappointment where we say the news story isn’t as good as the old story it seems like this Jesus says I know exactly how you feel I know where you are I know all that you’re experiencing this Jesus comes alongside us in that moment of deep need and reminds us that the story is still growing the story is still developing and with that we get to walk to this thing that in some places is called mass in some places it’s called communion in some places is called the lord’s supper but is often called eucharist and that’s the expression I would choose today because eucharist is about grace today you come to a table of grace and

before we do that there’s a few questions that I would love to invite you to ask the first question is in this advent season where we are walking towards light and presence and now in the season of darkness and absence and when what is it that you are grieving in this season what news story doesn’t quite meet the expectations of the old story what is it that is still to be hoped for where do I see god growing this story where do I see signs of life of this story still emerging and need where do I need to nurture that life where is god’s story still continuing and maybe something to reflect on how do I grieve the old story live in the new story while anticipating the finished story whatever you need as I invite you to this table this is a table of grace this is a table of finished stories and imagine Jesus in this moment as he does this for the

first time with his followers is that story finished that predates crucifixion predates resurrection in the midst of his own story of trauma and pain of death Jesus sits with his earliest fellows and says I see the finished story the story is still growing so I’m going to invite you to come to the table as the team lead us and you’re going to go back to your seats and we’re going to take the elements together and then we’re going to finish with a celebration of a high priest who has changed everything for us because the presence of god is no longer about a building the presence of god is centered in each of our hearts as we know what it is to follow him so let’s pray on the night that he was betrayed Jesus gathered with his earliest followers and sitting with them he took the bread and he handed it to each of them he said this is my body broken

for you in the same way he took the cup handing it to each of them said this is my blood shed for the sins of the world as long as you gather together do this in remembrance of me as you come to this table of grace today may you come bring your disappointments may God create hope of a new story still developing in you god for my friends who need healing may this table speak of healing for my friends wrestling with disappointment may this table bring new hope for those wrestling with sin may this table speak of forgiveness for those wrestling with broken relationships may this table bring reconciliation for those wrestling with angst may this table bring peace I thank you for your table of grace which provides for us as you come dan and Yvonne will be on either side of the stage if you would like prayer for anything you can come and receive prayer when you’ve come and got your elements take them back to your seat and we’ll take them together amen