Monday, December 17, 2007

Sermon: December 16

This are my notes from the sermon that would have been heard at 8 AM (the 10:15 AM service had the Christmas Pageant).

Robert Louis Stevenson tells a story of growing up in Scotland in the 1850s.. His family lived on a hillside, outside of a little town. Each evening he would sit in his family’s kitchen, look down on the town and watch the lamplighter light each of the town’s street lamps. He would say, “Look, Mother, there is a man who punches holes in the darkness.”

Third Sunday – Light grows, darkness fades. Joy (stir up) Sunday – Pink Candle, it stands out

Like the words form Isaiah today: The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.
Repent for the Kingdom of God has come near.
-John the Baptist, last week

This week: John in prison – Jesus at work, is he the messiah?
-sends his own disciples
- Are you the one or are we to wait for another?

Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."

Fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, Jesus lays out the signs of the Messiah, and that his ministry to those least in the society…

One author I read asks:

Whom did you expect? A King who is easily observed and readily identified by his royal garb and his flock of attendants? One whose image is plastered on political posters and carried by the mass media? Those with eyes to see have missed him. But the blind receive their sight.

Whom did you expect? A Messiah borne on the shoulders of excited crowds? One whose very presence would command respect? Those with able bodies and minds go about their business. But the lame walk.

Whom did you expect? A leader who would deploy legions of angels to carry out the work of the Lord? One who would deal with the anxieties of the elite? But he reaches out to untouchables. And lepers are cleansed.

Whom did you expect? A Christ whose teachings would be so sublime and obvious that all could easily understand? Those with perfect ears do not catch the message. But the deaf hear.

Whom did you expect? A prince who would bring instant happiness? One who would not dirty his hands with the mortuary business? But the dead are raised.

Whom did you expect? A politician who would realize that the world’s power is in the hands of the wealthy? One whose attractiveness would get him invitations to all the right places? But the poor have the Good News preached to them.

Whom did you expect? A baptizer of the status quo? One whose life and message would avoid scandals? But blessed are those who take no offense at Jesus.”
(from Synthesis)

Literally, Jesus says, Blessed are those who are not scandalized by me…
How do we fulfill this?
-if we follow him, his scandal is our own
-we can’t run away from it

On this third Sunday, I am reminded that we are to bring joy into our lives and that of others. We are the ones now helping to bring the light, punching holes into the darkness. In our own way to help: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers be healed, the deaf hear, the dead have new life, and the poor have good news brought to them

We do this, we will be blessed because we will have shown that we are not scandalized by Jesus.

Stir up your power O lord and with great might come among us. Amen.

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