Saturday, December 13, 2014
Talk: Advent & Christmas Communion 12/12/14 on Isaiah 61:1-3 & Luke 1:26-28, 46-53
What do we learn about God from the way in which Jesus – the son of God – arrives on earth? And what do we learn from these two passages we read? Well they are both prophecies – they foretold, ahead of time, of something God was going to do in the future.
The Isaiah passage tells us that Jesus is coming but to do things that were unusual for a King! Kings, lords & rulers, well they sometimes Lorded (person dressed as king in crown & robe walks through congregation, lording it over them) it over their people, took money from them in taxes, sent them off to fight in wars…
But we can see that this King, Jesus, is going to be a very different kind of King – he is born in a stable…maybe a bit like being born in a hostel or a homeless shelter today. We are told he is coming to bring good news to people who are poor – people who struggle at Christmas to provide for their children, or pay off their loans.
He is coming to bind up people who are broken hearted – perhaps those who’ve been let down, suffered domestic violence, people who live with wounds and scars that no-one sees.
He’s coming to set people free who are trapped – by debt or addiction. To bring light to people who live in darkness – of depression, or perhaps because they literally can’t afford to put any money on their leccy key.
He is coming to bring comfort – to all who’ve lost someone and don’t know how to go on.
He’s coming to bring hope, a hope that penetrates all our darkness and despair. A hope that reaches down and pulls us up, a hope that never ever lets go.
Mary, in her song, says this King will bring down rulers from their thrones: think about the people who dominate others who are weaker than them, who rule some estates, who have power and cause fear. Pimps, dealers, people traffickers. Abusers, groomers, bailiffs, loan sharks. Gang leaders, internet bullies and pedophiles. Corrupt officials in government, those who introduced benefit sanctions. He is coming to deal with them. He’s a very different sort of King.
He’s a king who notices all of the little people. Who wants to hang out with them, to love them and lift them up, to speak gently and kindly and tell them he sees. He sees what we think is unseen. He sees our pain and our struggle, and he came as a very different sort of King to show us that God sees. And he hears – our prayers, and our cries, and even our silences when we have no words left to pray. And he acts, to help and bless and uphold us in the hardest of times.
He’s a very different sort of King. Things are a bit upside down with him. He comes to us as a servant (person with bowl of water and towel enters congregation and washes feet of someone), to love and serve and save us. And this Christmas he comes to us again.
For many, this is a really hard time of year. If we don’t have much money, we can feel poorer at Christmas as we see all we would like but can’t afford. If we are lonely, we can feel worse at Christmas as we think everyone is busy with their happy families. If we are depressed, we can feel worse at Christmas when we see the lights and tinsel, and all the cheesy tv adverts.
Because of that, Howard (the priest) is going to anoint us, so we can be blessed with The Oil of Gladness, like it says in the passage. We all need some gladness in this hard world, and Jesus came and was born in that stable so we could know he understands our struggles and draws near to us to bless us. Amen