Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
This year, the whole Church, including we here at All Saints, will be looking at the life of Christ through the eyes of the Gospel writer of Luke. [Perhaps I should add a quick side bar here as well. When I say the Church, I am talking about those denominations that follow the "RCL” also known as the "Revised Common Lectionary.” Not all congregations or denominations follow the RCL, but as a general rule, denominations that are considered mainstream Protestant (Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church of Christ, etc.) and the Catholic church fall into this category. One of the wonderful things about following the "RCL” is that if you visit or attend a different church and it follows the RCL, all attendees receive the same Word for that given Sunday. It is a means of expression that the whole Church shows solidarity and receives the same word of God that fellow Christians would receive in Germany, Tanzania or Japan. I now return you to the previous message].
Within this New Testament Gospel, we will read of the lives of many people personally touched by the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. The Story of Jesus becomes the story of us, one that becomes intricately interwoven within the stories of each of our personal lives and family stories; stories that generation after generation are drawn into experiencing, animating, within our hearts and minds. Luke brings Jesus to life within his Gospel. We come to know Jesus’ family, his uncle Zechariah and aunt Elizabeth; his cousin John: all who in their own way contribute to the story of the Messiah. We read Mary’s story of coming to grasp with the task of love which God imparts upon her and her ultimate humble acceptance and joy in this task. How many of us have family stories of parents having lost a child within a crowd and the fear of the unknown they experienced in those moments of terror, only to find this child safe and sound?
Each of us has our own story, rich in the mystery and messiness of life. Through the words of Luke, we recognize ourselves within the story of Jesus. Jesus is given to us to know in a most beautiful, intimate and unique way. Jesus is the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. The Messiah, fully human, brings us comfort and the Messiah, fully God, gives us hope. Life’s messy circumstances are not ignored but confronted straight on by Jesus. Jesus becomes a model and teacher for living through that messiness. It is these not so pretty lessons of life that we are called to pass on to the next generation. These experiences and lessons are an important part of our story. The mysteries of life are God working in, around and among us. God in all His mystery enters into our everyday lives and we are changed, our circumstances are changed, and we really are never quite the same. Luke’s writing does this to us! How many of us have stories of mysteries and miracles?
The birth of Jesus has been celebrated and now we look to Epiphany and his baptism with joy. Jesus’ story is just beginning. What a wonderful story, through the eyes of Luke, to look forward to in this new year. Why not experience this amazing story with the rest us and then share it with others? You are welcome into worship and the sharing of the story with the family of God, into Jesus’ story, and the story of us.
Pr. Paul <><
p.s. Did you know??? On Sunday, January 6, we will celebrate Epiphany and the arrival of the Magi in Jesus’s story. Come join us around the bonfire and have a cup of hot cocoa.
p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said??? "The Bible is the cradle where we find Christ."