B Cycle – 3rd Sunday in Advent

The movie Camelot was a story of peace, joy, love and the prosperity that once filled the land of England.  It is also a story of how all of that was lost and destroyed by the unfaithfulness of Arthur’s wife Guinevere and the purest, noblest and strongest knight of all – Lancelot. In the final climatic scene Arthur is preparing to bring his forces into battle against those of Lancelot.  This battle was engineered by the devious and conniving Mordred.  At dawn on the day of the battle, as Arthur prepares for battle, he hears a sound in the bushes.  Investigating that sound, he discovers a small boy of about 10 to 12 years old.  The boy says his name is Tom and he is from Warwick.  He tells Arthur he is there because he wants to fight for the Round Table and become a knight. The king, who has seen his dream for the round table shattered, wants to know what and how this youth knows about the concept behind the table.  He asks, “Was your father a knight?  “Was your mother once saved by a knight?  “Was your village protected by knights?”  Tom’s answer was simple, yet it was very profound, he said “Oh no my Lord – I only know of them from the stories people tell.” This gives the king pause for a moment as he considers what he had just heard.  And then he says to Tom “From the stories people tell you want to become a knight, tell me what you think you know about the Round Table.”  Tom replies with great excitement, I know everything my Lord, Might for Right, Right for Right, Justice for all; a round table where all knights would sit in unity – everything.  King Arthur, who has seen his vision for his kingdom destroyed, realizes the dream is still alive – it is still possible.  Instantly Arthur knows what to do.  He forbids Tom to fight in the battle; he knights him Sir Tom of Warwick and instructs him to hide behind the lines. He tells Tom when the battle is over return to his home to grow up and grow old and to remember the story of Camelot.  To ask every person if they have heard the story of Camelot and if they have not then he must tell them the story.  As the king is reminded it is time for battle to begin, Arthur shouts out “I have won my battle, and here in this boy is my victory.  What we did will be remembered”.   That is the story of Camelot. That is the story of us and the kingdom of God.  It is the story of “one who came” because of the plan of the master of the universe. It was and is a plan that began when God created us in his own image.  It was and is a plan that has us reconciled to God by the saving act of Jesus Christ.  It was and is a plan that removed the separation of sin between us and God so that we unencumbered by sin would now freely choose to live in righteousness.  It was a plan that freed us from “the law of sin and death and brought us under the law of the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). We are living the story of God’s Camelot.  We are Tom of Warwick and are filled with the stories of God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice.  Like Tom we are the heralds of not just what was but what is now and what has been accomplished by Christ’s life, death and resurrection.  But it is also a story where all can be destroyed and lost by unfaithfulness.  We know that story because we live daily with our own unfaithfulness.  Like Lancelot we strive to be pure but we fall short. But we also know like Arthur, that even when the dream seems to be shattered because of our unfaithfulness; or shattered because of sickness and broken dreams; or shattered because of prejudice or injustice, that what was once can be again.  The gift of grace is there if only we keep returning and seeking to be reconciled. We are reminded this Sunday that we like John the Baptist are not worthy for any of this grace.   Scripture is clear about our falling short; for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).  But it is a fact that Jesus came to redeem us and to reconcile us to God.  We are reminded in Advent to remember that God’s kingdom is here among us and it is not some distant place we will see in the future.  We are reminded in Advent of what we as church are called to be.  We are reminded in Advent how God would have us act and how he would have us love. In Advent we are called to remember and to anticipate what God has promised.  Like Tom of Warwick we know everything because we have heard the stories.   We hear them in scripture, we hear them in music and in books, we hear them from family and from friends, we hear them in the teachings of the Church. But we have also seen the story lived out in the lives of those who believe. Like Tom and John the Baptist our mission is not only to remember those stories but also to retell the stories to everyone; to tell the story strong and tell it well.  We are to keep telling it so that we can remind others that our destiny to reflect the image of Christ and to become a knight of “This Table of Sacrifice.”

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