|jazzoLOG: A Child Is Given|
26 comments26 Dec 2007 @ 09:23 by ashanti : .
26 Dec 2007 @ 10:48 by jazzolog : Christmas Thoughts
Abraham Bloemaert, Adoration of the Magi (1624)
Tu qui sedes in tenebris spe tua gaude: orta stella matutina, sol non tardabit.
You who sit in the darkness keeping your hope alive: the rise of the morning star, the sun shall not be slow.
--–Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (1961)
Follows the Christmas sermon, by Father Bill Carroll of Athens Good Shepherd Church, on Christmas Eve~~~
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the whole earth...
Declare his glory among the nations
and his wonders among all peoples.
Tonight, we sing God’s new song. Tonight, earth trembles and the trees of the wood shout for joy. For tonight, light has overcome the dark, cold winter, and God is making all things new.
On this most holy night, we too have rushed to the City of David to behold a child. Like the shepherds before us, our ears too are ringing with a message of joy—and songs of praise. Glory to God, the angels sing, and peace on earth. HERE, in a manger, lies the newborn Son of God. He is the King of Angels and the Prince of Peace. And we have answered the angels’call to worship him. Throughout the world, God’s People are singing with joy: “O come, let us adore him. Christ, the Lord.”
Tonight, we eat God’s new bread. As our ancestors in the faith liked to point out, “Bethlehem” means House of Bread. They connected this fact to the detail in the story about the manger. After his birth, Jesus lies in a place meant for food. He is the living bread, who gives life to the world. He is our spiritual food. He is strength for our journey, given to us straight from the hands of God. Tonight, in the Eucharist—the Christ Mass—Jesus will come among us in the flesh. He will feed us with his own body, and renew us in his love.
Tonight, we sing the praises of God’s new and humble humanity. In Christ, divinity and humanity come together: heaven and earth are joined as one. In every generation, the saints are delighted by the poverty of the Son of God. We too are overcome with wonder by the lengths God goes to save us.
In one of his letters, Paul marvels that, though he was rich, Christ became poor for us. In another, he notes that Jesus laid aside the privileges of divinity and took on the form of a slave. Twelve centuries later, in a moving meditation on the mystery of Christmas, Francis of Assisi tells us that “On that day, the Lord sent mercy and song in the night…for to us is given the beloved child most holy, born for us along the way and placed in a manger, because there was no room for him at the inn.”
Beloved, the living GOD lies helpless in the manger. In a new and surprising way, God has entered the world in this poor and humble child. In the Christ child, God is placed at our mercy, so that we might learn to show mercy to others.
His birth is certainly humble. Mary and Joseph journey by night to comply with the emperor’s decree. They are a poor couple in Roman-occupied Judea, and they must be counted, in order to be taxed. Their hearts have already been set on fire by the strange promises of an angel, but they remain uncertain as to what these words might mean.
Then, Mary’s labor comes upon her, and, before long, there….he….IS. Her newborn son—the Son of God. When Jesus is born for us, he is not found in a royal palace or any other place of privilege—but rather in a stable. As he would be later, Jesus is found on the margins, among the poor and lowly. He is born outside the inn, just as he dies outside the city gate. Here, in the manger, lies a different kind of king.
If we want to find God, here is where to look. Here, among the little ones who amount to nothing in the eyes of the world. Here it is that Christ is found. The Nativity of Jesus dispels our fantasies about divine power. Too often, we cling to images of God based on ways we dominate one another. In so doing, we deny the flesh of the Word. By becoming flesh and blood, God renounces every form of power save that of vulnerable, self-giving love. In the Christ child, we meet a God we can trust. By becoming poor and vulnerable, God makes it possible for us to live as brothers and sisters.
In his fourth sermon on the Lord’s nativity, Bernard of Clairvaux, the great monk and spiritual teacher, urges us to remember the humility of Christ:
Today, he writes, how many altars are aglitter with gold and precious stones!…Do you think that the angels will get sidetracked to these and turn away from the tattered poor? If it were so, why did they appear to shepherds of sheep rather than to the kings of the earth or the priests of the temple?
A couple of weeks ago, in a sermon based on one of Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah, I suggested that, at Christmas, God would welcome us with the open arms of a child. I went on to say that this child would disarm us and make us capable of peace.
Well, here he IS. Tonight, we see Isaiah’s vision of endless peace fulfilled. Truly, the wolf lives with the lamb, and the leopard lies down with the kid. Predator and prey live together in harmony. Even the serpent is rendered harmless. And a little child leads them all.
This child fulfills the desire of the nations. This child breaks the rod of the oppressor. For, in him, God looks right at us with the fresh, newborn eyes of a baby. Beloved, Jesus has opened his arms and heart as wide as his eyes. He has come into our midst, because he likes us and loves us and wants to be with us—FOREVER. And there’s room for us all in his embrace.
As we well know, the astounding trust he places in us is unearned and poorly deserved, and yet this trust touches us profoundly. Here we feel something primal. We WANT to love this child back. We WANT to place our hope in him. Listen again to the words of the carol we just sang: Child, for us sinners, poor and in the manger, we would embrace thee with love and awe. Who would not love thee, loving us so dearly? The birth of Jesus, like that of any child, is filled with possibilities. His love breaks our hearts and makes us whole.
So this night, of all nights, we sing God’s new song. For we have been delivered from the bondage of sin and received power to become God’s children. Truly, the People who walked in darkness have seen a great light. And whatever separates us from God, whatever divides us from our neighbor, whatever enslaves us, whatever keeps us back or holds us down, ALL THESE have been overcome in the flesh of Christ our Savior.
Sing to the Lord a new song.
26 Dec 2007 @ 18:01 by vaxen : ...
OKE ITASE ANNUAL IFA DIVINATION FOR THE YEAR 2008/2009
ODU OF THE YEAR – OSE IRETE
ALIASES _ Ose ’Birete, Ose Biile
By: International Council for Ifa Religion & International Ifa Training Institute
A child is eaten...alive.
30 Dec 2007 @ 12:50 by rayon : Congratulations
Jay O on becoming grands parents (to be read in french for fuller meaning) and for which the unallowed italics cannot indicate! True merriness and blessings for the new year.
3 Jan 2008 @ 12:01 by jazzolog : Nina Looks Out Upon Her World
4 Jan 2008 @ 14:06 by jerryvest : Beautiful baby and pic, Richard...
I hope that she will grow up in a world with humans that are loving, responsible, compassionate, kind and caring. She is very fortunate to have such a family that supports these values. Best wishes for a great New Year. Jerry
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