Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 27, 2015 - Christmas 1C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” During Christmastide, we celebrate the Incarnation, the coming of God to us in Jesus. Matthew and Luke give us nativity stories with Mary, Joseph, wise men, angels, and shepherds, but John gives us a cosmic nativity scene. And in doing so, the gospeller John connects Jesus to Moses and to John the Baptist. Our reading notes that Jesus “came to his own people.” Though there is a very transcendental nature to Jesus that is not confined by time or space, Jesus also lived in a very finite context. He was born in modern-day Palestine, spoke Aramaic, and grew up learning about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus was Jewish, and that fact not only influences our interpretation of him in Scripture, but also has important implications for us today.

Friday, December 25, 2015

December 25, 2015 - Christmas Day

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            A very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. It is a joy and privilege to spend Christmas morning with you all. Though you can probably still smell the incense in here that was used at last night’s service, there is a noticeable difference between our celebration of Christmas this morning and last night’s liturgy. There is also a rather significant variance between the two gospel texts that we read. Last night, we heard the story, as told by Luke, of Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem for a census and Jesus being born in a manger; and we heard of angels announcing the birth to shepherds in a field. The image last night was of an infant who had nowhere to lay his head.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December 24, 2015 - Christmas Eve

Merciful God, illumine this night with your celestial brightness as we gather in joy to sing your praises for your love made manifest in the Holy Child, Jesus. Amen.
            A very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. It is so wonderful to have you here. If you are at St. Luke’s regularly, it is a blessing to celebrate with you this most holy night. If you are returning home from college or living in another city, but grew up at St. Luke’s, it is a treat to have you back with us. If you haven’t been to St. Luke’s since Easter, it is great to see you again. If you don’t have a church that you would call your “spiritual home,” we are glad to have you with us this evening and hope to see you again. If you were dragged here by a family member, I’ll try to keep the sermon short, but nevertheless, we welcome you. If you’re not sure why you are here, we are thankful that God brought us together. Whoever you are and wherever you are in your faith journey – welcome and Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20, 2015 - Advent 4C

O come, O come, Emmanuel. Amen.
            Advent calls us to pay attention. Whether it is Jesus or John the Baptist, the message of this season is to focus. There are so many distractions this time of year: lists running through our heads, an overbooked social calendar, and stress about year-end budgets. It can be easy to miss the important things. And it doesn’t help that this passage from Luke is a familiar one, so it could be easy to gloss over it. But this morning, I’d like to pay close attention to our Gospel text.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 13, 2015 - Advent 3C

O come, O come, Emmanuel. Amen.
            The lectionary’s move through Advent mirrors our move through this season. A few weeks ago we were entering a season of putting up Christmas decorations and starting to listen to holiday music. But now things are getting real – you no longer have all month to buy gifts or plan for parties. Christmas is no longer something on the horizon, it’s nearly here and there are things that need to get done. As we began Advent a few weeks ago, we talked about themes like hope and God’s promises, but in today’s reading from Luke, things are getting very real as John the Baptist begins his preaching.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December 6, 2015 - Advent 2C

O come, O come, Emmanuel. Amen.
            By definition, a psalm is a song of praise to God. Generally, we sing one of the psalms from the book of Psalms on Sunday, but today the lectionary presents us with a psalm that is found in Luke. Generally, psalms are named based on their first word in Latin, so today’s psalm is commonly called the Benedictus.