Readings and reflection from Sunshine Cathedral in Second Life on Sunday, December 28, 2014 Christmas I
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Loving Parent, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel's song, for infant's cry. We thank you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold your glory, and are bathed in its radiance.
Be with us as we sing the ironies of Christmas, the incomprehensible comprehended, the poetry made hard fact, the helpless Babe who cracks the world asunder. We kneel before you shepherds, innkeepers, and Magi. Help us to rise living into our true potential as images of your goodness. Amen.
The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians (4.7)
You are no longer in bondage; you are a child of God, and as God’s child you are also an heir.
The wisdom of Abdul Kalam
“As a child of God, I am greater than anything that can happen to me.”
The gospel according to Luke (2.22-24, 39-40)
22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Holy One 23(as it is written…“Every firstborn male shall be dedicated to the Holy One”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is [required by the tradition], “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 39When they had finished everything required…they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
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Christmas Comes Again
Merry, Merry Christmas my friends and fellow travelers on this journey. We have arrived at the manger. The Christ child is born again in our hearts and in the world. The innocence of a newborn baby reminds us that we were all, each and every one of us, born into the world in the very same way completely innocent, the very image of God’s goodness and mercy.
Today I want to concentrate on one of the central tenets that the man Jesus taught during his lifetime. The baby Jesus grew to be a strong and powerful man that incarnated God’s mercy. He spent his life working for justice. His ideas were so radical, so threatening to the Roman empire that it cost his life.
What I want to consider today is that every single human child is as precious and has the same potential as did that tiny baby born in a stable and placed in a manger. Every single child is worthy of the same honor and praise. Every baby deserves to be loved, protected, and cherished.
As Christians we cannot kneel before the manger to worship the Christ child unless we are willing to work for justice for every single child on earth. That means the poorest child deserves the very best healthcare and education. The circumstances of someone’s birth should not dictate the opportunities that child has in life. That is inherently unjust. No child has a choice into what conditions it is born.
In the United States we have “evolved” to a period in history where we value one child’s life over another based on the color of their skin, the language their parents speak, and the net worth of the family into which they are born. There is nothing more unjust than this.
So this Christmas let us all kneel at the manger and commit ourselves to working for justice in the coming New Year.
Let us all remember that we were all once a tiny baby, dependent upon those around us to care for us. And none of us is more important in the grand scheme of things than another. So what can we do? Let us refuse to laugh at racist jokes or tolerate mean spirited rhetoric. May each of us come to know that we are all made in the image of a loving Creator who values each of us equally no matter what economic circumstances we find ourselves or mistakes we may have made in our lives. Our gospel lesson teaches us today that the favor of God is on every child born into this world.
So this Christmas let us all kneel at the manger, all equally beloved of God, and commit ourselves to working for justice in the coming New Year. Please join me in prayer.
Loving Creator who made each of us in your own image give us the peace that passes understanding in the rush and stress of this holiday season. Remind us that you love us unconditionally. Renew in us a thirst for justice and a hunger for equality for all people. Fill our hearts with joy and our minds with peace. Come to us in the faces of the people we meet each day and allow us to know your love and spread your love throughout the world this Christmastide and into the coming New Year.
All these things we ask in the name of your child Jesus born in Bethlehem, held in his mother’s arms and laid in a manger. Amen