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Celtic Advent III: The Trinity Looks at the Incarnation

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross (Photo credit: Nick Corble)

The Holy Spirit’s View: Looking forward to Jesus Being Born of Mary

Luke 1:26-38 & Joel 2:27-32

 In Jesus Name

 

May you know the presence of the Holy Spirit, given to you in your baptism, by whose power you bring Christ into other’s lives!

 

Understanding the Holy Spirit?

         

As we’ve journey this advent, we’ve seen passages that we could see the Father’s vision for Christ’s coming, and the incredible desire He has for people to become His children.  Then last week, we saw this same desire in Christ, who set aside every right, every privilege and all the glory of heaven to come down into our mess, and die on the cross to cleanse us and bring us peace.

This week is more of a challenge, as we look at the Holy Spirit.  For in scripture, we don’t directly hear the Spirit.  We see it in action, in Genesis, in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, guiding people’s lives, inspiring apostles and prophets and those who penned the scriptures.

So this night, our lesson is a little harder to hear, but we can take a look of the Holy Spirit in action – to see a model of how God works, and then understand how He has planned to work in our lives.

it was for this reason that the early church often spoke of Mary, and held her up as an example of faithfulness, but as well, they held her up as an example of God’s relationship with His people, the church.
Mary on whom the Holy Spirit would come upon, who would bring the Savior into a broken world.

How did the Holy Spirit work with Mary    

In our gospel reading, we see some insights into the young lady.  Our scriptures tell us that she was confused and disturbed, by the words of the Angel, who informed her that she would be blessed.

Over and over scripture tells us she pondered the things that were happening, the things that were said in her heart.  Can you imagine?  How will this all work out?  Finding it not a dream, but finding herself pregnant, having to explain this to parents and to Joseph. Then undertaking journeys, first to Elizabeth, then with Joseph to Nazareth.

This last song describes, I think, some of what she could have been thinking.

Frightened, not only by being pregnant, but knowing her child was the hope of Israel, the one through whom all peoples would be bless… and her cry for God’s mercy.  Imagine trying to figure out why God chose her, and relying on God for the strength to endure.

These aren’t things normal to us, for fear of what God would have us do, how to step out in faith and obey His call isn’t something we do easily. Nor is depending on Him when the road is strange.

She was able to, and to ponder and treasure all that happened in her heart….

Because the Spirit of the Lord was with her…

These are the Ancient promises

You know, we hear these Christmas stories, we know who is who in the nativity figurines, we can hear Linus repeating the Christmas Story almost by memory.  But do we see them as models of God’s handiwork?  A model that is replicated in each one of us?

Of course, none of you are going to give birth literally to the Messiah, but God has called each one of you into a relationship – by which Christ does involve Himself in our world, and the world of those around us.  These Ancient Words, these promises, what theologians call types – Mary is no different than any of us, someone who struggled with questions, and fears, and yet heard the voice of God.  As such, she is a good example for us to look at – to realize how God works.

In our baptism – the same Spirit that came upon her, came upon us.  The Holy Spirit – the Breath of Heaven, is given to us, dwells with in us, and bring the light of Christ into a world just as desperate, just as broken, as the world Mary lived in.

That is what Peter was talking about when he quoted Joel on Pentecost.

 Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. 28  “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. 29  In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.

God is among us, God is here.

Because He is here, we know we will never be disgraced, never again be shamed.  He is here, to bind our brokenness, to restore us, to bring us life and joy, to give us the vision of our abiding with Him always.  He destroys our fears with His love and light of His glory, with the love that we know is here, that we see in each others eyes, that we hear as we tell each other that God is Immanuel, that God is with us.

Such are the words of the Holy Spirit, given to us,

For that is His role, according to Paul, to empower us, to bring us to life that we can rejoice in the Father’s love, demonstrated to us.

It is what He inspired prophets of old to prophecy about – as the Spirit dwelt in them, and the apostles as well. It is why he would come upon this young lady named Mary, and why she would give birth to God.

And why we are here…ready to know God is with us, and bear Christ to a world that so needs Him to take their burdens…

Even as we place ours in His hands again…

And live in a peace we can’t describe, secure and safe because God is guarding us… AMEN?

Celtic Advent II: Jesus’ Thoughts on the Incarnation

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus’ Thoughts
Looking toward Being Born of Mary

Isaiah 49:4-6

 

† Jesus, Son, Savior †

May we be in awe of the love of Christ, demonstrated in His leaving heaven, to come dwell with us, even as He saved us.

 

The impossibility of the task:

It Is as difficult to picture Jesus in heaven before the incarnation, as it is trying to see what life will be life when we dwell eternally with God.  We are after all, talking about dwelling with God. We are talking about Jesus the Messiah, the one through whom all things were created.

And now through whom all things are recreated, in order that we do the good works planned for us since before the foundation of the world.

Even so, the exercise is useful, trying to imagine what Jesus thought and felt a few hours (however one experience that) in heaven.

Can you imagine Him and the Father, looking down at the world, knowing what was to come, having planted the seed of this even before Adam and Eve were ushered out of the garden for their own protection?

Even before the garden was?
What did he see?

As he looked down at their brokenness, as he considered the sing, the evil, the hardness of hearts that Jesus knew He was going to encounter, as He considered the beauty, the glory, the incomparable, indescribable, life He was going to freely give up…

How could He not be repelled?  How could the stench of sin, the overwhelming self-centeredness of mankind not turn Him away?  How could he not react as we do when we face making sacrifices for those that would rather not be helped?

How could He not hesitate, but for the joy that was set before Him, smile at the Father and with a sparkle in His eye, say, “It’s time” and in a moment, find Himself defenseless, in the womb of a young woman?

The mission was always bigger

As we travel through Advent, that is what we must see, this deep desire of the Father, of the Son and of the Spirit to rescue us from the death that is life apart from God?

We see this in the old testament reading – the absolute exhaustion that Isaiah prophetically sees in Christ.  He’s been born, struggled with our rejecting Him, dealt with people like the sons of Thunder, those people who act so brashly and loudly… he’s dealt with Pilate and Matthew, with Judas’s betrayal, and perhaps more painfully Peter’s betrayal.

He knows that those are just foretaste of ours, the days when our behavior, our thoughts and words do not reflect our love for God.  The days when our resentment and desire for revenge and our own self gratification seems to dominate.

He knows this pain – but the mission He was sent on by the Father, that they planned together – the time to that point is now gone… and the knowledge is seen.  Hear Isaiah’s prophecy about Christ’s attitude:

.” 5  Even before I was born, the LORD God chose me to serve him and to lead back the people of Israel.

 

He will go on..
 Now the YHWH – God the Father says to me, “It isn’t enough for you to be merely my servant. You must do more than lead back survivors from the tribes of Israel. I have placed you here as a light for other nations; you must take my saving power to everyone on earth.”

He comes – just as planned – to save Israel, and to save all nations.  Not just our friends and family, but our enemy.  Not just to forgive our sins, but the sins committed against us. To free us from all of that… for that was the plan, even before His birth.
Why?

The gospel, in its simple yet profound language tells us.

. 57  In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me.

 

In the same way our meal over on that side of the room shows our life together, so this meal here does.  They are, in many ways, the same thing.  Our fellowship here with God, reflected there.

He came to give us life, to redeem us and return us to the Father, to bring us back Isaiah says.  To have life because His saving power, this love and mercy, this invitation to communion, to fellowship, to living with Him has been His plan since before He entered Mary’s womb.

For we live with Him, because we have died with Him.

As Jesus stood there, ready to enter time, ready to leave heaven, ready to be born of Mary and live among the sin and brokenness, the stench of sin and the horror of lives that are spiritually rotten.. He heard the Father’s voice… and loving the Father, loving us, became Immanuel

God with us… The Lord God Creator, Savior, Redeemer Re-Creator.. has come to us….

It was what they wanted.. it is what changes everything…

With Him, having been rescued from darkness, let our lives reflect His glory and mercy and peace to this world.  AMEN?

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