buy Pregabalin 300 mg uk The Sunday Sermon – December 6, 2015
next page Luke 2:1-6 and Luke 23:44-46
Pray … Read Luke 2:1-7 and Luke 23:44-46 … The Word of God …
So, I ask this from time to time after our scripture readings on Sunday morning … Did you hear it? Did you really hear the Word of God? If you did, I suggest to you that it wasn’t found in anything I just read, or anything that your ears just heard from “the words of my mouth.” No, this morning, if not every morning, if you really heard the Word of God, you heard it – or perhaps more accurately, you felt it, and you still feel it – in the “in between.” The Word of God this morning is found between chapters two and twenty-three of the Gospel of Luke, in-between the cradle and the cross, or more poetically, the manger and the tree. The incarnation of God, the Word made Flesh, was first experienced somewhere in the years between the birth and the earthly death of Jesus of Nazareth. To be sure, death was not the last Word of God for the life of Jesus. But Resurrection, I provocatively propose, was not God’s first revelation. Jesus’ life was, a life lived fully, through deep Love, between the cradle and the cross.
Jesus’ life began in earnest sometime around his thirtieth year, our scriptures suggest, and somewhere in the Jordan River. The first time that all four of our Gospel accounts “come together,” the first event common to all four books, is Jesus’ baptism … by John, in the Jordan River. I haven’t done any exhaustive research into the other gospels written but not included in our biblical canon, but I’ll bet most, if not all, include some sort of account of Jesus’ baptism – the moment when God claims his life and the whole gathered community recognizes who he is – God’s child, and how God feels about that – “well-pleased” our NRSV translation rather flatly translates. We might imagine “ecstatic,” or “thrilled,” even “psyched” about it.
Now, I ask you further this morning, does that sound familiar? That declaration of faith and that claiming by God? It better. It just happened right here. In his baptism, through water and words, another life, the life of Clint Christopher, begins. Oh, it’s been five months since he was born, but this morning we recognize something new for him – and for us. Clint’s life, too, is the Word of God incarnate. And as we, in his baptism, remember our own, we remember our lives as incarnations of God on earth. In every way the same as Jesus before us, differing only in degree, differing only in our ability – or our willingness – to accept our identity as “begotten and beloved” by our God.
I know that this understanding of who and where “Christ” really is doesn’t land fully on you. It hasn’t landed fully on Christians for about sixteen hundred years and counting now, ever since our doctrines turned their teachings toward guilt and fear to motivate faithfulness and fidelity. But here’s a Christology for eth 21st century: We are God’s anointed, too. Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit, too.
We resist it, as followers for Jesus have for centuries … But then we gather on the other end of life.
Only moments from now, we will gather at the table set before us. It strikes me every month that the words Jesus speaks to us when he breaks the bread and pours out the cup are not “now get ready for what’s next” or, “in three days you’ll understand.” He doesn’t talk about, or hint at, the future. He says, rather, “Remember.” Remember what He doesn’t say “something’s coming,” he says “something has already been,” and it will be again if … you would only remember … his Way: His joy, his sorrow, his hope, his courage, his Love, all found in his life between the cradle and the cross. Remember that!
What we are waiting for is already here. That’s the paradox of our Advent observance. The water of our own beginning, the bread of our own life, and the cup of our own salvation are already here – set before us in this life for this life, and for the life of the world. We are not asked to imagine what we haven’t already seen or what we haven’t yet learned. We confess eternal life, yes, but we are asked to live this life as Jesus lived his. Salvation is at hand. We are asked to “remember” what we already know. But we don’t … We continue to hate and to incite death.
New to our list this week: Tasheen Malik and Syed Farook. We’re glad they are dead. Glad they were killed.
But that’s not who we are called by God in Christ Jesus to be. I know it makes you angry. But, when we live the life between this water and that meal, we are called to something more than revenge and hatred and violence and death. When any one of us harbors ill-will, hatred, or violence toward anyone else in this world (and we all do), then we add to its deep wounding. I know that makes you angry. ISIL gives our death wishes a righteous center, does it not? And we don’t need to go that far abroad to discover the hatred in our lives and to begin to rationalize it. Hatred, violence, and fear are real. We have reason to hate, reason to retaliate, and reason to fear.
But here’s the thing and we really can’t get around this: So did Jesus. There was no more oppressive and violent empire in the history of the world than the Roman Empire in the first century. But somewhere, somehow, between the cradle and the cross Jesus chose a more perfect way. Somewhere between the manger and the tree, he realized that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave us all blind and toothless. Somewhere, somehow, he realized the he couldn’t wait any longer, that the world he knew couldn’t wait any longer.
I’ll be just a bit more provocative this morning before stepping from this pulpit to prepare for that table. Somewhere between the cradle and the cross he made sense of the headline news that says God is not going to fix this by adding “alone.” And he “remembered” that Life is not just a promise for the hereafter. It is God’s promise for the world in the here-now.
We have made promises this morning – to each other, to this baby, to God. Let’s get busy living the life and sharing the Love those promises call us to right here, right now.
Reverend Joel Weible, Pastor / Pewee Valley Presbyterian Church / December 6, 2015