First Sunday of Advewnt Homily

Posted on Dec 4, 2018



2 December 20



In 1916 Sir Edward Shackleton and 27 men set out from England

with the goal of sailing across the Antarctic continent.

Shortly into their trip,

their wooden ship, aptly named “Endurance,” was caught in pack ice and crushed.

The crew was stranded with no way to get home.

Shackleton came up with a daring plan.

He would lead several of his men

across hundreds of miles of pack ice, stormy Polar seas in a small boat

and over the mountainous peaks of South Georgia to what he hoped would be civilization where he would pick up supplies and help and return for the remaining men.

And so he did.

He reached a tiny whaling station in South America and promptly turned around.

He went back to rescue the men he had left behind.

–Not a man was lost.

When I first heard that story, I thought not so much about the bravery of Shackleton,

I thought of the men who stayed behind after the Endurance was wrecked.

I thought of the men who had to wonder every day as they waited for his return,

if they were waiting in vain.

The thought of waiting in vain scares me.

I’m afraid if ever really put to the test, I wouldn’t pass it.

My secret fear I guess, is that even now, I wonder, am I waiting in vain?

I look at so many of my friends and relatives who have given up on the church, faith, God, Jesus, whatever.

I think they answered the question for themselves.

I think they answered there is no sense in waiting.

That frightens me because I can understand how easy

it would be to come to that conclusion.

In some ways I don’t think my hope has really been tested yet.

I suppose that’s my greatest fear.

I know the day will come, when it must.

I think that is part of the Advent message: That our hope will be tested–

It was in Jeremiah’s day, it was in Paul’s day, it is in our day.

In the end I pray, that for you, for me, when our hope really is tested,

we will have the strength as Jesus says, to endure and so stand before the Son of Man.