Friday, December 28, 2007

First Thoughts for sermon

Here are the readings again. I'll take them one at a time and just free associate for now.

Isaiah: It was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them. Something here, God works directly with us, no intermediaries. The Bible does show that God uses angels and messangers quite often, but here Isaiah assures us that the presence of God saves. This reminds me a little of how sometimes I need to just insert my presence into a situation at school to restore order or whatever, no words or admonitions, just my presence. In my experiences with contemplative prayer it is the presence that is felt, no visions or voices put a palpaple presence. This presence is very comforting, especially for sceptical people, because it can't be explained, it just is. There have been times in my own life that, when tensions are running high, the silent presence of a loved one (even the one you are fighting) is just...right.

Psalm: ecstatic poetry. At times I find this kind of praise poetry rather annoying.I usually get annoyed when I feel like my ever so difficult life is getting to me. But there are times when I am feeling like a one man praise band. This need, for me, to be a real knowing about God, not an intellectual one but a visceral felt knowing.

Epistle:it is clear that he did not come to help angels, great line. I'm no angel. This reminds me of something that Father Thomas Keating said: I find it hard to believe that Jesus rose from the dead just so I could go to heaven.

Gospel:Joseph as the main character. Being sent to Egypt. To Egypt!? The land of slavery for the Hebrew. God is sending Joseph to an unlikely place. God does this constantly, we think we might know the best for ourselves but God changes all that. We have a view from a very miopic place, it's hard to see all the variables. How can I preach on this text? It's like a car chase. I think I can identify with Joseph here. He was likely in his early 20s, new father, some astrologers had just visited, all normal. An angel comes to Joseph


Teacher said...

Well, I finally found a moment to come to your blog and read. Thanks for this...your thoughts help me center.

In my tradition, the presence of God is always with us...God doesn't leave, even during war or pain or violence. So, does that mean I'm constantly being saved? My take on this is that in moments when I am being present with God's presence am I saved. Perhaps I am constantly being saved. I've never really bought into the "one moment of grace" thing that some folks talk about.

I wanted to here more of your thoughts on Joseph heading to Egypt. If you get a chance to post them, I look forward to more reading.

Hope your holidays were good!

-J from Atlanta & school & unicycles

Unknown said...


When I posted those first thoughts I was in full freakout mode for the sermon, it turns out that my reading changed and I had to put something together the night before.

As for Joseph, I just put myself in his shoes: new dad, strange visitors, and now another angel telling you to take the kids, where, Epypt? The place of slavery?

God sends us in weird places that we don't get. In this story God was sending the Holy Family into a safe political place that was formerly exceedingly unsafe. I'd actually like to see what the Talmud says about Egypt post-Exodus. I do remember a story from the Talmud that says when God released the Red Sea, killing the Egyptians, the angels rejoiced. God promptly put an end to that saying, the Egyptians are my children too.

Off subject perhaps, but hey, it's my blog :)