Sunday, December 20, 2020

The God Of Birth; Sermon on Luke 1:26-38


Rev. George Miller

Dec 20, 2020

Luke 1:26-38


Today we have so much chaos,


-COVID 19 taking the life of 18 county citizens.


-Christians vandalizing Historic Black Churches in DC.


-Stimulus checks- are we getting them?


So it’s nice to come to this beloved story, setting the stage for the birth of Christ.


We all know the story-

An angel,

A girl,

A proclamation,

A promised child.


And this bold, brave woman saying “Here I am- let it be.”


“Let it be.” 


Theologian Thomas Moore considers these to be the 3 most important words in the Gospels- Let It Be.


As Thomas Moore states- As we enter our destiny, Mary is our example.


Here I am!

Let it be!


One is a declaration of existence.

One is a statement of acceptance.


Both are statements of birth, beginnings and boldly welcoming the new.


Isn’t it beautiful that as the community mourns of what can’t be, we believe in a God who continually points us to what can be?


In re-reading today’s text, we notice a few things.


Look- how many names are mentioned-

Mary, Elizabeth, Gabriel, Joseph, David, Jesus, Jacob.


Look closer- who is mentioned the most after God?  It’s Mary.


At a time when women’s names were rarely mentioned, Mary is named again and again, the focus of God’s attention.


Look even closer- for a story about new beginnings, there is so much emphasis on the ancestors and elders- David, Jacob and Elizabeth.


Why does this matter?


One- it reminds us of how the story we celebrate today is a story rooted wayyy back in the beginning.


There’s something else, a common thread woven through- birth and becoming. 


Elizabeth- the empty womb that becomes full of life.


Jacob, the grandchild of Sarah who was said to be barren.


David, who becomes the greatest of all the Kings.


Looking at it this way, we begin to see a thread continue through it all- that our Lord is a God of Birth, not mainly war, wine, money or sex.


It makes sense: the first story in the Bible is about Creation- which is a birth story.


Sarah, Rachel, Hannah- all birth stories.


Exodus- the birth of God’s people.


Moses receiving the commandments- a birth of ethics and way to be.


Jonah, expelled from the belly of the fish; Daniel emerging from a lion den- a different kind of birth story.


Why birth?  Why not war or wine or money or sex?


Perhaps it is because there is so much power in birth.


Birth represents life, but more than life, it represents hope, glory, love, grace.


While death may seem to have the final word, death cannot exist until there is first a birth. 


There must first be life in order for there to be death.


Which means that in today’s story, in this Christmas tale that refers to patriarchs and kings, it is Mary who is most powerful of all.


To Mary the words of birth are uttered to her ear, and the promise of life hovers over her womb.


The God of Mercy is ready to birth, again. 

-A birth to redeem creation.

-A birth to make the captives free.

-A birth to make the ancestors sing.


A birth that brings justice, kindness, and ethics together.  A birth that will bless all the world.


So while we struggle through COVID, Christians desecrating Christian Churches, and unsure about stimulus checks we can be sure about this-


God is ready to do a brand-new thing.  God is ready to bring forth life.


God is ready to hear each and every one of us say “Here I am- let it be.”


For that we can say “Amen.”

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