I won’t be preaching this first Sunday of Christmas, but we can’t ignore this week’s gospel lesson. So I will share a few thoughts harvested from another sermon I preached on this text several years ago. You can read the whole thing here.
It can be tempting to ignore atrocities, to think we can’t do anything about them. But Jesus calls us to see and to act. As you continue through this season of Christmastide, May you find opportunities to do just that, in Jesus’ name.
January 6, 2019
Happy Epiphany! Epiphany always falls on January 6th, no matter what. This year, January 6th happens to be a Sunday, so we get to celebrate Christ’s Epiphany – a fancy word for unveiling or revealing – on this very first Sunday of the New Year.
The gospel lesson for Epiphany is always the same, year after year. We always get the story of the wise men seeking out the infant King. It only comes to us through one author so, no matter which gospel we are following in a given year, Epiphany always brings us to the second chapter of Matthew.
Since we hear it every year, we might be lulled into ignoring this story. It’s easy to let it drift in one ear and out the other, because it’s so familiar. As you hear it this time, I invite you to listen in a new way. I invite you to engage in something that schoolteachers like to call “compare and contrast.” Pay attention to what Herod does and says, and compare that to what the wise men do and say. There will be a short quiz after the reading. Continue reading
There’s a story of a woman who searches store after store for the perfect Christmas gift for her husband. A friend has come shopping with her, and the friend tries to help this woman find what she is looking for, but the woman shakes her head “no” at everything the friend points out. Finally, in exasperation, the friend asks, “What, exactly, are you trying to find?” And the woman answers, “I’ll know it when I see it.”
Have you ever stood in front of an open refrigerator or kitchen cupboard, looking for something to eat? You’re hungry, but you don’t know exactly what it is that you want? What will satisfy your grumbling stomach? There’s plenty of food available, but what will you choose? What do you really want? What will fill you up, and keep you satisfied for more than an hour or two? Will you know it when you see it? Continue reading
Samuel Barber’s Agnus Dei
None of these words has enough depth of meaning when I think of the suffering more than two dozen families are experiencing as I write this. My petty little sorry-I’ve-been-too-busy-to write-anything planned bit of cheerfulness just got swept away in the horror of death. Children, gone. Like that – just, gone.
Where is the invitation to wait for the coming of our Lord in glory, amid all this senselessness? It is here, amid this senselessness. Precisely amid this senselessness, we wait. We hope. We struggle to comprehend. We sorrow for the brokenness that could allow such a terrible thing to happen. We remember that Herod slaughtered little boys when Jesus was born, just as tragically, just as senselessly. And Rachel wept, as we weep now.