A Lutheran Says What?

Sermons and random thoughts on God, the world and the intersection of the two

What Shall I Say? Luke 1: 5-13, 57-80 December 21, 2015

Filed under: sermon — bweier001 @ 9:42 pm
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Silenced. I wonder for how long? I’ve never been good at being in silence. I mean, my whole job, reason for being is to talk to people about God, what God is doing and what I think about God. I can’t believe that God would do this to me. All I did was ask how I was to really know what the angel said was true. It’s perfectly reasonable to wonder about an old woman having a baby with an old man. Seriously, I think that angel overreacted just a bit. But now I’m here in the silence and not able to tell anyone anything that I am thinking. I may not survive this.

Well, maybe this is a good time to catch up on some of those scrolls I’ve been meaning to reread. I’m usually so busy in the temple that I don’t get to that as often as I probably should. I forget how good those stories are in the Torah about God working through all kinds of unusual suspects and what those laws might really mean for how we live. Hmmmm, when I can talk again, I need to remember to ask Elizabeth to make sure the tassels on my robes are in proper order. Where was I? Oh, yes, scroll reading. You know, maybe I should look at those prophet scrolls again. I wish we had some new prophecy about what God will do to save Israel. If we ever needed saving its now! We’re occupied AGAIN, the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. If you’re not in with the ruling class, you’re very likely to end up a slave or in prison.  People seem to not be interested in going to temple anymore. I guess they’re so busy just trying to make ends meet and ensure that they have enough food, shelter and clothes that time for scroll reading and psalms seem like a luxury. I guess I’m no better. It took God putting me in a long time-out for me to even find some time. It IS kind of nice to have the time…and as I read and silently (like I have a choice) reflect, I am noticing that I’m worrying less about myself…

God does keep all of us on our toes. God has done some fairly outside the box activities in the past: manna from heaven, water from a rock, using kings to bring the Israelites back to their homeland, wet wood set on fire, young shepherd boy made king. I wonder what God has in mind for this baby Elizabeth is carrying? I wonder how he will be part of what God is doing. Does this mean that I am a part of what God is doing as well? I’m fairly old for a lot of adventure, but I guess all of the sleepless nights coming with a baby might cure me of that!

You know, as I look at the Torah, the writings and the prophets, God has always looked out for those on the outside, on the edge and the vulnerable. What if God is continuing that work? It’s been so hard in the past couple of hundred years as it seems that God has quit speaking. Or maybe we quit listening. You have to be quiet to listen…oh I see what you did there God! Did I need to stop talking to hear what you’ve been trying to say? Sigh. I guess it’s not always about me as a priest is it God? It’s easy to forget when you have some privilege, when people listen to you, when you can essentially take care of yourself without much input or help from the rest of the community, we can forget that our whole reason for being is to love God and neighbor. Maybe those 10 commandments aren’t so restrictive after all. Maybe God’s trying to tell us that we are most whole, filled with joy and peace when we are connected to and love God and neighbor. Hmmmm I’ll have to ponder that one some more…

If we need to be connected to God for wholeness and peace, what are we to do and say then? What does that mean for not just my child about to be born but for all of us? What if my baby is not just about Elizabeth and me but about all of God’s people? I mean, not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but what if we all have a role to play but only some of us actually participate? That’s very frightening really, what are we missing about God if not everyone speaks about their experiences with God? Why are we afraid to do that? What if our words could heal, love and give hope? I wonder if I’ll ever get to speak again. If  I do, I’ll remind us all of what God has done, how God has always been there, saved us when we needed saving, and that God promises to always be there and to always come to our rescue no matter what. I’ll speak words that remind not just others, but myself, that God is the center of all we do and who we are.

Wait, what’s that? What shall we name him? It’s a boy? But I still can’t speak!! Oh I never liked the naming the son after the father stuff, seems redundant and limiting…John…well, not a family name at all but that is the name that I’m hearing….from God. Yes, God, I’m listening. If I’m allowed to speak once more, what shall I say? Oh, these months have changed me. These months have allowed for your word, your tender mercy, your deep compassion and your unending love to live in my heart, in my mind and in my spirit. Your spirit fills us all, reminds us that you do live in and now really among us! What shall I say?  I hope everyone is listening and not caught up in their fear of the unknown, of uncertainty and fear of not having enough. That angel Gabriel was right: don’t focus on fear! Focus on God! Ah Hem!! Here goes nothing: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.”