Of Desert Storm Dog Tags & Grace
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death …
Yea, though I walk through the valley of radioactive tank rounds and chemical nerve agents and though I refuse to acknowledge you …
You are with me, and your rod and your staff comfort me
Me … unworthy me … even me … Why?
Remembering where we began.
Remembering where God’s grace found us.
Allowing that memory to shape how we see others.
Allowing that memory to get us IN the Spirit of Advent The spirit of INclusion.
Of Philip & the Ethiopian Eunuch
The reference from our Offertory invitation is this inclusive narrative Acts 8:26-40
He’s not Hebrew. He’s even a eunuch. You could sound-bite Scripture, and there are those who do, in order to EXclude him. But Philip INcludes him.
Of the Psalmist David & the Unworthy
In our first reading, and so often in the Psalms, we have descriptions of the unworthy, the marginalized, the outcast … even in this, one who is described “a man after God’s own heart” – David; murderer, adulterer, failed parent. So many unworthy people in Jesus’ lineage, & in the history of God’s people God’s people themselves are so regularly behaving horribly … even … Even as they continue to look forward to a Messiah, recognizing their need … still behaving badly. God doesn’t care rescue them from worthiness
Of the Trinity & the Broken Circle
Wm. Paul Young (The Shack) “My picture of the Advent season is a circle of three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, working out the details of coming to find us in our lost-ness. And they break the circle and invite a fourteen year old into it and they submit to her.”
The ultimate end of humanity is to be united with God for eternity; to have God’s incorruptibility imparted to us. Advent is a significant point in that journey. With the incarnation, the circle of the Trinity opens up, reaches down to humanity, & begins to lead the way toward restoration. Jesus becomes the forerunner leading us toward that eternity.
Of Advent & the Spirit of Inclusion
Jonah & the Ninevites, Ruth the Moabite, Rahab the Prostitute (O.T.) Contrary to the OT idea of a God of wrath & hard boundaries.
Peter & Cornelius, Paul & Gentiles (N.T.) Like Peter, we take those “laws” and our human instinct is to wield them as an excuse to exclude the other and declare them “unclean”.
Jesus & the Samaritan Woman, & Tax Collectors, & Sinners (Gospels) The living example of Jesus & the Father … “You know, I don’t do anything unless I see the Father do it” “Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.’” (John 5:19 NRSV).
God is communicating to us through the incarnation.
He is communicating his love and mercy; his sovereignty.
Because he heals, because he forgives – we see his ultimate sovereignty