Monday, January 10, 2011

Sermon Januray 2 2011 by Pastor Bettye

January 2, 2011Jeremiah 31:7-14Psalm 147:12-20 (12) Ephesians 1:3-14John 1:[1-9], 10-18
Coming together!
Let us pray…….
O God our redeemer, you created light that we might live, and you illumine our world with your beloved Son. By your Spirit comfort us in all darkness, and turn us toward the light of Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
I love it when all things come together! I personally find tremendous satisfaction when all the pieces come together and you can see a finished product. Simply said I was glad when I could put all of our New Year’s dinner for nine on the table at the right time or when on New Year’s day morning I could serve all the portions of brunch to the same nine sleepy family members without anything being undercooked or overcooked! My most recent professional and spiritual experiences with this “coming together” occurred on Christmas Eve and again today. The music, the word, the children’s nativity, the prayers, the lights, the candles all flowed with great ease into this space creating a joyous time for all on December 24th. I believe that we all left the church that night with a sincere sense that God’s light has indeed come into the world. We ended our service, the last reading of God’s Word for the year 2010 with the same words upon which we enter this new year of 2011; the readings from John 1. Today we continue with this “coming together as we read from Jeremiah, the Psalms and Ephesians. The Word of God, the plans of God for our salvation and reconciliation are indeed coming together and we have reason to rejoice; we also have our marching orders for 2011 as we install a new 2011 Church Council for Community Lutheran Church. Here are the parts that are coming together for us on this the Second Sunday of Christmas, the first church service of the New Year 2011:
From Jeremiah we hear an oracle, a declaration from God Almighty that he does indeed have plans to provide for the wayward people Israel. God uses terms and analogies or word pictures which indicate hope, survival, salvation, preparation for a future that is coming together.
“They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble,…” Jeremiah 31:9
While the people of Israel may not see the future they are promised that God has already written a plan for provision in which they will not only survive but thrive in the future!
In Psalm 147 continues to put the pieces together so that we the listener might have yet another extended view of the God of all provision.
“He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. 14 He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.” Psalm 147:13-14
We hear in Ephesians that not only is our God the God of all provision but that God has been planning for our salvation, since the beginning of time. The people of Ephesus are being reminded that the God they know in Christ has been putting together all the pieces necessary for their reconciliation to Him and to each other in Christ Jesus,
“With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[c] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” Ephesians 1: 8 – 10

In the Gospel of John we come to the place of putting all the pieces together in the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it……….”9 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” John 1: 1-5, 9
God’s plan for restoration, salvation and reconciliation has come into the world and has been in the world since the beginning being one with the Father, the great “I AM” who has been putting together the pieces of our salvation since before time (the world) had begun. The oracle’s promises in Jeremiah, the song of the psalmist and the echoes of the words of the people of Ephesus, the early church all fit together together….perfectly! We now as bearers of that word are called to make the light known to the world; our lives of service are the continuation of making the pieces of the Good News of Jesus Christ fit together.
Today, as we continue with our proclamation of the Word made flesh we recognize the work of our flesh as servants in God’s kingdom. To this end we call forward a new group of church leaders who will promise to study the Word, make the Word a living entity in the church and the world. Putting the pieces together will take the prayer and commitment of leaders and all other disciples in this community of faith. We are to be part of bringing the light of God to the darkness.

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