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Life … Life!

by davesandel on December 27th, 2021

Monday, December 27, 2021                                     (today’s lectionary)

Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist

Life … Life!

What was from the beginning.

Our Pastor Ray dedicated a bunch of beautiful babies yesterday. Just beginning their lives. He remembered when Diana gave birth for the first time, to Christopher, and when in her womb Christopher sat on Diana’s kidney, and then when he inhaled mother’s milk and got pneumonia, and how he almost died then, but lived, and at last the folks at the hospital said, “You can take Christopher home now,” and how Ray and Diana had no idea what they were doing. Christopher came a few weeks early, and they had only three out of the six required Lamaze classes, and everything since then has been an amazing adventure.

What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands.

Simeon and Anna blessed Jesus the baby when they recognized him as the Chosen One, the Messiah come to save God’s people from their sins. Ray asked, “Did they hold other babies too, before Jesus?” And then when they held Jesus, everything was different. Their breath became air, clear air, pure into the heavenlies, and what they looked upon and touched with their hands was, without doubt, the Lord, the Lord, the Lord! Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen thy salvation. And Anna too, more than a hundred years old, also knew the child, and told everyone about him.

The Word of life was made visible. We have seen it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us. We have seen, and we believe.

John raced ahead of Peter into Jesus’ tomb and saw that he was not there. The graveclothes had been left, fallen into a body’s place, without the body, which was, the angel said, “risen.” Jesus was alive.

Jesus was more alive than anyone who ever lived. Max Lucado wrote Cosmic Christmas, renamed An Angel’s Story. Gabriel, who tells the story, accompanied Joseph and Mary on their journey to Bethlehem. Demons attacked them along the way. They accepted a ride in a cart, but the driver was attacked:

The possessed animal swerved madly toward the cliff. I looked at Mary. Joseph’s arm was around her shoulders; her hand was on her round stomach. I knew that in a matter of seconds we would crash over the edge into the valley below. The driver was dead; the wagon was out of control. I turned and prayed to the only One who could help.

From the womb, He spoke. His parents did not hear. The word was not for the ears of Mary and Joseph. Only the hosts of heaven and hell could hear the word. And when they did, all stopped. “Life!” The command flooded the wagon as totally as it had flooded Eden.

The demons began scattering like rats. “Life!” came the command a second time. Simon coughed as air filled his lungs. “The reins!” I shouted. He gasped, grabbed the reins, and pulled himself erect. Through watery eyes he saw the edge of the road and instinctively yanked the animal back until it stopped. We were safe.

And we too, we are safe? Not just safe but saved? Not just saved but sanctified and strengthened to somehow become givers of Life ourselves, we who are called brothers and sisters of Jesus?

Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

What manner of relationship is this? We can worship him, we can praise him, we can give thanks to him for everything in our life. That’s how Gabriel and the other angels live their own lives, worshipping even the baby Jesus in Mary’s womb. I could see the radiance in her womb. He glowed like a healing fire. I worshipped him, even unborn.

But. This is FIRE we are talking about.

Do you know who you hold, Mary? You secure the Author of grace. He who is ageless is now moments old. He who is limitless is now suckling your milk. He who strides upon the stars, now has legs too weak to walk; the hands which held the oceans are now an infant’s fist. To Him who has never asked a question, you will teach the name of the wind. The Source of language will learn words from you. He who has never stumbled, you will carry. He who has never hungered, you will feed. The King of creation is in your arms.

 The fire brightens, the fire glows, the fire warms, and the fire burns. I cannot get too close, but I cannot not. To be hidden with Christ in God requires it.

We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

 (1 John 1, Psalm 97, John 20)

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