Sermon – December 25, 2014
The Rev. Rebecca S. Myers, CSW
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Corbin, KY
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.
Be silent, all people, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.
1 John 4:7-16
God Is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
The One Who Comes from Heaven
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.
Well, it’s that time of year. TV, newspapers, blogs and all kinds of media have retrospectives of the year…2014 in review. Even Facebook and Google Plus will take the photos you’ve posted this year and create a year in review. It’s kind of scary to see what they put together.
Sometimes it’s hard not to despair. I’ve told you before that everyone alive on earth right now has the same mother from 50,000 years ago….mitochondrial Eve, she’s called. So, technically we’re all brothers and sisters. Yet we treat each other so badly, sometimes. I mean ISIS/ISIL is so horrifying, aren’t they? They’re such a puzzle. And we were touched personally whenAbdul-Rahman Kassig, Anne Day and Jeff’s friend of their daughter Sarah, was executed. Every day, we hear things that break our hearts or make us shake our heads at how cruel we can be.
That’s why this vision from Zechariah is so comforting:
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. Zech 2:10-11
This is a vision of joy, because God has come to live with us and thus bring all nations together as one people. A vision of unity. Now, we know that this does not mean we are all alike or think alike. We are a typical family and very, very diverse! Yet, we hold one thing in common and that is our joy in God’s coming.
And then in our reading from 1 John, we get a second dose or guide to hope. We hear the central truth that God is Love. And we get this guidance:
Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:11-12
Our love of each other is a response to God’s amazing love to us…a love we celebrate this morning. And in loving each other, we create a place for God to dwell and not only that, God’s love becomes perfect in us.
The best gift we can give today…the best way we can reflect our joy on this day, is to resolve to better love each other. It’s not easy, we know, but we can redouble our efforts to try. Loving each other is the only way to know God.