2nd Sunday of Christmas—Year B—Jan 4, 2015

2nd Sunday of Christmas—Year B—Jan 4, 2015

Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham

Let the words of mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

Did you catch how blunt the prologue of John is? “No one has ever seen God.”[1] We can see the light, which helps us see the rest of God’s creation, but we cannot see God. We can only see the result, the offspring—Jesus, God’s Son— and the love, peace, cooperation, healing, and teaching he embodies.

It is just like wind. We cannot see the wind, but we can see the leaves rustle, the snow spiral to the ground, and the kite fly.

While on earth Jesus helped us to see where God was already at work in this world. And now his teachings continue to testify to God’s goodness, and Christ shines through each of us—spreading love, creating peace, preaching inclusion (“the true light, which enlightens everyone”[2]) throughout the world.

This is one of the biggest hurdles for much of humanity when it comes to God.   Many find it hard to believe is something for which there is no physical evidence. The idiom “seeing is believing” (according to Wikipedia) was first recorded in 1639 and came from Thomas’ position about the resurrected Jesus. But nowadays that phrase is used even more frequently against God.

But that is the nature of faith—it “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”[3]

God is un-seeable directly, but God’s impact shines brightly throughout creation. And it is even easier to notice since God took on human form and became incarnate. That is how much God loves and cares for us…how willing God is to join us in the midst of pain and suffering to help us with our unbelief and guide us in our lives.

Even for us the incarnation can be hard to grasp, since we did not get to see it with our own eyes. But we have the outcomes, the impacts, the witness’ writings, and the work of Christmas to help us out.

Howard Thurman’s poem “The Work of Christmas”:

When the song of the angels is stilled,

when the star in the sky is gone,

when the kings and princes are home,

when the shepherds are back with their flocks,

the work of Christmas begins:

to find the lost,

to heal the broken,

to feed the hungry,

to release the prisoner,

to rebuild the nations,

to bring peace among the people,

to make music in the heart.

It is when we remember that God remains incarnate—in US and all of humanity—that we remember we ARE able to see God.

God is present in the lost, the broken, the hungry, the prisoner, the war-torn, the cancer patients, the divorced, the widows, the addicts, the lonely, the homeless, the other.

God is present in all who work to end lost-ness, brokenness, hunger, un- & underemployment, poverty, homelessness, crime, injustice, war, illness, sadness, injury, addiction, loneliness, and despair.

For God is wholeness, found-ness, fullness, shelter, peace, justice, inclusion, health, happiness, freedom, relationship, belonging, love, and eternal life.

At Christmas, God stooped down, humbled God-self, and took on the form of a human baby, so that we might be able to better see, encounter, and be impacted by God’s love. It and what happened later on the cross are together the ultimate sign of love.

God is not far off, no matter how hard to see.

God is not uninterested, no matter how easy pain & suffering is easy to spot.

God is not see-able, but all around us, God is knowable.

God’s light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it!

[1] John 1: 18, NRSV.

[2] John 1:17, NRSV.

[3] Hebrews 11:1, NRSV.

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