Posts Tagged "Christmas Day"

Sermon December 25: Jesus Moves in the Neighborhood

Posted by on Dec 29, 2016 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon December 25: Jesus Moves in the Neighborhood

Faith United Methodist Church December 25, 2016 Fourth Sunday of Advent Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Isaiah 52:7-10, John 1:1-14 Prayer of Illumination: Your glory shines around us, Lord; your light banishes the darkness. We join the angels and the heavenly host, worshiping you with songs of heartfelt praise. All creation shouts the good news of great joy: chains are broken, burdens are lifted, wounds are healed. This is your doing, God. We rejoice in your goodness. Amen. Sermon:  Jesus Moves into the Neighborhood =Last week Gary and I stopped by to welcome our new neighbor who had just moved in next door. It was a little funny since not too many months ago we were the new neighbors. Yet, it was now our turn to share our wisdom of the neighborhood. Which dogs were friendly. Which neighbors were friendly. What time the mailman arrived. As we were chatting I realized that we were going to be living in close-proximity to this very nice woman for the next however-many-years. This gave me a new appreciation for Jesus’ instruction to love our neighbors as ourselves. In The Message version of the first chapter of the Gospel of John, Eugene Peterson translates verse 14, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” Perhaps that sounds a little heretical, a little too off-the-cuff in relation to the Son of God. But, if nothing else, this is what the Incarnation is all about. Jesus became human and lived right next door to us ~ sometimes thoughtless, sometimes rude, sometimes entitled human beings. First in Bethlehem and then in Egypt, later in Nazareth and, as an adult, in Capernaum Jesus set up house right along side everyone else. In the Gospel of John we don’t have the birth story of Jesus. There are no shepherds or angels or wise-ones coming to the stable. Instead John gives us the big picture – the behind-the-scene story. He takes us all the way back to the beginning. He refers to Jesus as the Word – God’s Word – and tells us that from before creation the Word was with God. The Word was life and light. All things came into being through him. And then, in the fullness of time, the Word took on flesh and blood and came to earth to dwell, to bring God’s light to the darkness of the world. The early Greek readers of John’s Gospel knew what John meant by the “Word.” In Greek the Word is Logos, the supreme reason and organizing principle of the universe. To the Greeks of that day the Logos was impersonal and detached from human life. The idea that the Logos would become flesh and dwell among us, even move into our neighborhood, was preposterous, ludicrous, unbelievable. And it is preposterous, isn’t it? That God would humble God’s self to be born into a human family and to suffer all the indignities that go along with being one of us is ridiculous. But it was precisely because God wasn’t impersonal or detached that God did it. God became one of us in order to teach us how to love God and each other. God became one of us to provide a light for our darkness.   The Word became flesh to share the eternal in a specific time and place. As Paul Perez puts it, “God enters into the thick of it!” That is the incarnation and that is what we celebrate at Christmas time. God didn’t keep doing what we expected God to do. God acted in a unique way on our behalf because...

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