12.16.2011

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT Year B

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 • Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 • Romans 16:25-27 • Luke 1:26-38

I don't know about you all, but it is difficult for me to pay attention to news right now. Sure, this can be a hard exercise at many times of the year, but for me it is a particularly trying right now because we are in political primary season AND we are in the Christmas season.

As I watch all of these well-intentioned people attempting to become the Republican Candidate, it seems like a child's class room with all of the students eagerly raising their hands hoping to be chosen to lead the class out to the playground. It is tough to watch all of these folks and their spokespeople clamoring to be at the head of the line because they expend so much effort hiding their own cowlicks and pimples while throwing elbows and drawing mustaches on their opponents.

As I read the scriptures that tell the Christmas story, I see people who are Chosen without volunteering or advocating for themselves. I see people that God selects. And I see people that thoughtfully (sometimes with some doubt) choose to accept their assignment.

It seems we are caught in between knowing we are Chosen and loved by God just as we are, and working so hard to gain God's favor by our own efforts. There is a distance between being Chosen and working to be noticed.

It is interesting to watch the story of David and his rise to becoming King and all that happens during his reign. He is initially Chosen by God, and then in this scene he gets a bit prideful and tells God he would like to build God a house, and God reminds David that God will be in charge of his own house AND will also remain in charge of the people of Israel AND of their King (David). And David's story goes on and on from here. Back and forth. Remembering he is loved and Chosen by God just as he is, and then trying so hard to gain God's favor. Back and forth.

Psalm 89 is a poetic retelling of God's choosing David. Historically, it seems important (even within our own political struggles) to note that in every time and every land every leader is criticized and every leader and candidate is marked as Chosen by God by somebody.

The passage we have from Paul's letter to the followers of Jesus in Rome is the end of his letter. It is a final blessing to he readers. It is a final exhortation to them as he closes this letter of counsel and instruction. And in this closing he is recounting things he wants to make sure people remember. It is a little difficult to read, but if you know the back stories that led to this point, it has several references to people who were Chosen. He refers to himself (Paul) who was dramatically Chosen, and it refers to Jesus, who was significantly chosen.

And in the passage from the first chapter of the gospel of Luke, we see two more great examples of someone Being Chosen. We see the stories of both Mary and Elizabeth learning they are Chosen to be the mothers of Jesus and a baby named John. Imagine what it would have been like if Mary had run for the office of Mother of The Son of God...what would that have been like? What if she had worked and worked to be noticed? There is a great distance between being chosen and working to be noticed.

God, help us to allow ourselves
to be your Chosen people.
Help us to know we cannot
earn Your love
and guide us
as we
allow it.
Amen.

© matt norvell 2011 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.

No comments: