While We Are Waiting, Love 12/20/20

While We Are Waiting, Love

December 20, 2020

Maple Grove UMC

Rev. Patricia Wagner

Isaiah 41: 27-29, 42 1-4

I first have declared it to Zion,[e]
and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings.
28 But when I look there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 No, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their images are empty wind.

42 Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth righteousness

He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established righteousness in the earth;

 

Gospel Lesson                                                                    John 3:16-19,

“For God so loved the world that God gave his son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send God’s child into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

I’m looking forward to catching up on some of my favorite movies                                                                        

Elf, which is about a child-like man, who is looking for his father wants to love him and be loved by him. It was written by David Berenbaum, a previously unknown Jewish scriptwriter who lost his father when he was very young.

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the original poem written by Robert May and the song by his brother-in-law, Johnny Marks both Jewish, about a reindeer with a shiny nose, whom other children laughed at and called names.  Who is eventually loved for who he is, for what makes him different.

 It’s a Wonderful Life in which George Bailey who had to learn to love his with all its flaws. Screenwriters: by a Francis Goodrich and her husband Albert Hackett, a married, Jewish couple.

And of course, White Christmas, music was by Irving Berlin, whose real name was Israel Beilin, yep… a film about love between folks who have given up on it, but the heart of it is love for a man whose given helped those in his charge, who is wondering about his worth:

“Because we love him, we love him…”

Love is at the heart of every Christmas movie, because love does, or is meant to transcend all the boundaries.

Love is, according to scripture, the center of the cosmos that brings forth Jesus, not to condemn us, but to save us.

A Savior, my aren’t we yearning for that.

To be saved from COVID we’ve lost 300,0000 persons, the world’s lost 1.6 million. We need saving.

Save us from racial hatred and fear, that would keep a knee on a unarmed man’s neck until he was dead.

Save us from our hatred of one another, from those who think differently, support different politics.

There’s no Christmas movie about that, but there is a story, the first one.

Jesus was born into a time of political antipathy when Herod was murderously afraid of anyone who would claim authority for fear of losing power.

Violence, loss of love, ethnic cleansing, death. Into this a child was born, a child, born of love, born to love as the prophet promised, the Messiah

Will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth righteousness

He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established righteousness in the earth;

He came to tell us that love is that from which we come, and to which we go; that love is the greatest of commandments.

He would remind us of the prophets’ injunctions to care for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and our enemies.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was motivated to action, to resistance in 1930s and 40’s Germany by the Jesus’ teaching and example that those who are the least loved by the culture, in Bonhoeffer’s time, the Jews, are infinitely loved by God.

Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for believing that, for proclaiming that:

He wrote:

God does wonders where people despair,

he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous.

And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…

God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings.

God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments

and performs his wonders where one would least expect them.

God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly,

the excluded, the weak and broken.”

God loves the lowly, God loves our lowliness. This poor babe in a stable comes that we might know that God loves the lowly, that God cares for us in our lowliness. Across all religious lines, all that which divides us: this is the message of the Lord of the cosmos.

And if we are to be judged, as people, as a church it is about how well we love the lowly, how faithfully do we bring forth righteousness.

But it is also the call upon every person, every person created by God loved into being by the Lord of heaven and earth.

Revealed no more poignantly revealed than in Dr.  Jose Varon, who in the Texas hospital where he works for 256 straight nights, caring for his patients who are frightened and breathless.

The love that was there at their beginning was there at the end, holding them. And that same love holds us now. Is holding us together as persons, as communities, as a congregation.

The Lord sent us the Messiah, not to condemn us, but to save us.

Like in the Christmas movies where love is what saves them, Love saves us, restores us to life.

A love that casts our fear, that calls us to trust that the love that has seen us through awaits us in the new year.

For hate is never the last word, remember:

He rules the world with truth and grace

            and makes the nations prove

            the glories of his righteousness

            and wonders of his love

            and wonders of his love

            and wonders, wonders of his love. Amen

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