1.03.2011

Nativity of the Lord, Proper III, Year A

Isaiah 52:7-10
Psalm 98
Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)
John 1:1-14


A nephew posted this quote as a recent Facebook status:

"Sometimes I wonder...will God ever forgive us for what we have done for one another? Then I look around and realize...God left this place long ago."

It is from the movie, Blood Diamond, an dramatic adventure released in 2006. But citation aside, what a stark statement of belief...or lack thereof. What a sad reflection, especially in a season many of us recognize as one of waiting and watching.

But it has us thinking...how are we evidence that God IS in the world? How are we proof that God has NOT left this place?

In a season where seekers and believers are anticipating God, there is much to be done to be the hands and feet and heart of God among those who hurt, who ache, who long...and for those who don't even know to ask questions.

The text from Isaiah is rejoicing at the opportunity to return to the and - to Jerusalem - from exile. At the time, the opportunity to return would have been understood as evidence of God's favor. It was a tangible sign that God had turned back to his people Israel, had maintained his promises, and kept covenant and would expect the people to do the same.

Similarly, the Psalmist sings praise for the marvelous works of God. Perhaps it helps to envision David dancing before the Ark with great joy and thanksgiving as it is carried into Jerusalem, returned to its rightful place in the heart of Israel, marking God's presence with God's people. Do we have sure evidence - a real presence - like that with us today? If we did, where would it be housed?

But Paul reframes God's presence in his letter to the Hebrews. He talks about God's presence being known through the birth of a real human being - a man named Jesus.

And the well-known selection from John's gospel describes a presence that was in the beginning with God, that was through all of creation with God, that was the light of life in all people..."And the Word became flesh and lived among us..." Here is a pretty good case for our ability to be the real presence of God to others. If we accept the challenge, we are infused with this light by our very creation. We are light in the world.

But there are so many who do not experience this light.

Oh come Emmanuel
And equip me
Not to say the right words
Or pray the right prayers
Or sing the right hymns
Or even to do the right things.
Equip me to embody the very light
Of your creation
That others can See
And be Warmed.
Amen

© matt & laura norvell 2010 www.settingourstones.org
we want to share this with you and hope you'll share with the world;
we simply ask that you let people know where you found these words.
May Grace & Peace be with you.

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