So... It's the first Sunday after Christmas - a.k.a. (along with the Second Sunday of Easter) The-Day-for-the-One-on-the-Lowest-Rung-of-the-Ladder-to-Preach-Sunday!
At our 9:15 and 11:15 services we had Lessons and Carols - so no sermon - but a sermon was still expected for the 8:00 service.
JON TO THE RESCUE!!!
So it's just a little quick one... The text has already been preached three times in the last week, so I didn't figure I needed to kill myself on it. Besides, I'll be preaching a full sermon next week, so I'll save most of my creative energy for that one!
In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
A few years ago Joan Osbourne had a song on the radio that was very popular that dared to ask, “What if God was one of us?” I remember that, at the time, it created quite a stir in the circles of the religious right. How dare she take the holy and give it such a vulgar spin? God is not “one of us”. God is set apart from the huddled masses and better. God rises above. Right?
But it’s worth asking. What if God was one of us? How would our lives be different? What if, every time we passed a homeless person on the street without giving a second glance, what if, then, we had to look into God’s eyes? Would we still be able to walk by without a second thought?
What if, as we were watching the evening news, and hearing all of the stories of woe that surround us every day, what if then, each night, we had to also look into the face of God? Could we just turn off the TV and go to bed?
Part of the purpose of Christmas in the life of Christians is to realize and to remember that God is one of us. In the Gospel According to St. John we hear the familiar words: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory…”
On Christmas Eve we engaged in the tradition of processing into the church with the figurine of Jesus placed on an ornate pillow. We walked all through the church with the congregation and the choir singing, and with grand music playing, before making our way here to place the figure in the crèche. In doing so, we were trying to take part in recognizing the “glory” of the moment. We were honoring the very holy coming of Christ by trying to reenact it with all of the pomp and circumstance that we could muster.
But it’s worth remembering that the “glory” that we have seen in Christ was such precisely because it lacked the grandness that it deserved. Though centuries of prophets had mused about what the coming of the Christ would be like, it was, in reality, a total surprise. He was not a powerful king triumphantly entering Jerusalem with armies and fanfares. He was not processed through the streets in luxury and accompanied by choirs singing songs of praise.
He was just a boy. Born of a woman. A few people that night and in the days that followed recognized that there was something special about this boy, but for most of the people alive in the world that night, it was just a night like any other. Most people never even noticed. God was one of us, and to our great surprise, he went almost entirely unnoticed.
The Word has become flesh and lived among us, but for the most part, we have not seen his glory. For the most part we, like most of those people on that first Christmas morning long ago, have not even noticed. We have seen the face of God and we kept walking as though it was just another face.
But at Christmas, we try to be a little more intentional. We try to recognize that God is one of us, and that it is our duty as Christians to see Christ in the faces around us.
It’s easy to overlook. It’s easy to miss “his glory”. Like those people of long ago, we can be in the presence of God and not even notice.
The word has become flesh and lived among us. God is one of us. Now we must cultivate the discipline of seeing his glory every day.