Where He Lives (with us) Is Glorious!
Where He Lives Is Glorious!
† Jesus, Son, Savior †
As you experience the grace and mercy of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, may you realize you dwell, even now, in His glorious presence!
The Irony of Looking for What is Already Here…
It’s time for another of Pastor Parker’s Parables.
The Kingdom of God is like setting up a Christmas tree a couple hours before the company arrives.
You have set it up every year in the same place, and you know how it all fits together! You get the stand to work this time, on just the 6th attempt. You place the lights on it carefully, having laid them all to test them. On goes all the ornaments, even that ugly indestructible, hideous one you got years ago. It was your Christmas present as a married couple from that one friend, so you put It on. (Maybe this year it will finally be crushed when you take the tree down!)
You finished decorating, you go to plug it in, and somehow the cord is 6 inches short… it won’t reach the wall outlet! In 10 minutes, your company is due to arrive! You head out to the garage; absolutely, positively sure there is a power strip right on the workbench, where it is supposed to be! You look, it is not there, you start to move things around… and…where is it! Anxiety starts to build!
You hear a car stop at the curb, oh no! You will never get it find it now! You look out, whew! It isn’t’ your guests, it’s the neighbor’s kids and grandkids. (you don’t even complain that they are parked in front of your house, you are so relieved…) You go back to the work bench – still trying to figure out where that dang power strip is…
And you realize it is in your hand. You picked it up, to move it out of the way so that you could find it….and it never left your hand…
Now the car with your friends arrives, as you are laughing maniacally, half embarrassed, half relieved, completely drained by the stress that leaves you…
Ready to enjoy the friends that you’ve been working to prepare the house for.
That’s the kingdom of heaven, that moment where the realization that what you need is here….right here.. even though you couldn’t see it.
That is our message of advent, as we focus on the peace and rest we have been given, because our long expected Jesus, is here. The rest and peace and glory that was prophesied to arrive with Him, that we struggle to remember is here…..
The struggle with Injustice in a dog eat dog world
As we look at the message in Isaiah, we begin to see what the Jewish people were expecting in the coming of Christ. I love the description of the peace that will exist between natural enemies, and predators, and even those who would innocently invade the area of others.
There is no more dog eat dog world, it is gone. There is no need to be on the defensive, to be anxious over those who could get hurt. There is no need to guard what we say, wondering how others might use it against us.
There is peace, and there is rest. It is a way that is foreign to us, for we will truly be able to be still, and just know that He is God….
Think about it, we will not have to worry anymore if our rights are going to be violated, or if someone is going to make our life more of a challenge. How many of us are ready to have nothing to complain about? No one to blame for why our lives are not as wonderful as they could be. Nothing holding us back.
I almost wonder how we will adjust… ( I mean – what will we post on facebook !)
Cynicism is no longer an art form, for many it is a survival mechanism. To throw away everything Luther told us about putting the best construction on what other’s say and do – and assume what they say and do is about their best – not our best interests. Of course, should someone point out that our words and deeds aren’t so loving, we might get upset.
And the Israelites were expecting the Messiah to change all that! They needed to someone who had all the wisdom, all the knowledge, the understanding and the ability to make this all right. Someone not just as wise as Solomon, or as aware of God’s heart as David, or with the gift of miracles like Elijah, but the one who they pointed to!
I love how Isaiah describes Jesus, 700 plus years before He is born of Mary
3 He will delight in obeying the LORD. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. 4 He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited.
That’s the promise of the word of God, promised to be fulfilled when the Messiah arrived on the scene…
So two thousand years later… why don’t we live in this peace? Why do we struggle with things that destroy it? Paranoia, Defensiveness, anxieties, resentment and thirst for revenge?
Simply put, it’s because the Kingdom of God is like putting up a Christmas tree…
Has this happened yet?
You have been baptized (if you have not – we can take care of that!) you have been welcome into the community of God’s people. Your sins have been forgiven and you are reminded of that quite often around here, because we need to be.
We, especially here at Concordia realize what a great God we have, for He has been lifted up on a cross, our flag of hope – our banner of victory, and we have seen the nations rally around Him, proclaiming His glory.
We live in God’s Kingdom, so why aren’t we aware of life being the way Isaiah prophesied? Why do we live still on edge, on guard, and battling anxiety? Why do we resent other, and desire revenge? Why do we feel we have to protect what is ours? Why can’t we see this Kingdom of God?
I suppose it is gooder grammar to ask why don’t we see this Kingdom of God?
It is here, you are reminded of it when you pray, which is why St Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. You can’t deny someone being there..if you are having a conversation with Him!
You know you are baptized, so heed Martin Luther’s advice and start each day knowing what is yours – the very gift of the Holy Spirit, the wiping away of all sins from your life, the healing of heart and soul. End each day as well remembering your baptism, for then you will know God is with you, and that you can sleep in peace.
Come to His table, and as one song tells us, taste of that glory, the bread of forgiveness, the win of His peace. Know that all struggle with can be left here as well.
Fellowship with others, as we learn the scriptures together, as we measure the height and depth of width and breath of His incredible love for us.
Know He has come, He is here…realize that you can entrust God with the world, with the justice He has promised, with the fact that nothing can prevail against His love. Be free to love those around you, even those you struggle with whom you struggle. God is here…right here… all the time.
That is why you live in the peace of God, which will guard you heart and mind in Christ Jesus. AMEN?
Posted on December 8, 2013, in Sermons and tagged Advent, baptism, Christmas Tree, Fulfilled Prophecy, Immanuel, Jesus, Life in Christ, Messianic Prophecy, Parable, sacraments. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.