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The Desert Road - 3 Advent 2016

The Desert Road - 3 Advent 2016

Sermon for 11 December 2016Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:4-9; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for You, O God.” Amen.That famous line from Psalm 42 was not one of our readings for this week, but it expresses perfectly the Advent sentiment. Think not so much in terms of Oregon deer, which get plenty of water, but think of deer in the Palestinian badlands, where rain is rare and the only water comes from springs that bring water down from the mountains. All the land around you is parched; such plants as there are, are hardy, thorny things. You can’t really just stay by the springs because that’s where the predators are. So you have your trails on the steep hillsides and you wander them endlessly looking for the next green plant to munch and trying to stay away from the lions and jackals. Most Israelites didn’t live in the desert, of course, but they saw it from where they lived, and it represented for them the realm of chaos, of demonic powe