Profound
Friday of Advent 2
14 December 2018
Familiarity breeds contempt. The familiar themes of Christmas are among the most familiar, if not within Western culture, certainly to Christians. In frustration I find myself turning off the Christmas music at home, because I am being dunned by it in every public space. I'm probably singing "Have a Holly, Jolly, Christmas" in my sleep. Our senses have not only become dulled by these peripheral Christmas trappings, but we also lose sight of the deep and sublime themes, indeed the reasons why there is a Christmas celebration.
 
"Oh, yes, yes, I know Christ was born in a stable of Mary. Let's get on with hanging the mistletoe!"
 
"Of course everyone knows that 'the Word became flesh.' Please pass the cranberries."
 
"The angels sang of good will toward men. Well, obviously. I wonder what ugly gift Aunt Martha will bring this year?"
 
"Everyone knows that 'the Word was God.' Isn't our (artificial) tree the most beautiful and perfectly shaped this year that it's ever been?"
 
Shame on us that the highest mystery of the faith can get wrapped up with the mundane and then passed off as nothing important. The words spoken by John, the fisherman, in his Gospel are among the most profound words ever recorded. Have we ever just considered the depths of these words and themes? Hilary of Poitiers (c. 310 - c. 367) simply says that the audacity of the words "And the Word was God" is staggering. They disturb our presuppositions about God and His divine unity. They shiver us to our core. That God, who was at the Father's side, has become flesh.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Hilary of Poitiers
"I tremble to say it; the audacity staggers me. I hear, 'And the Word was God' (Jn 1:1); I, whom the prophets have taught that God is One. To save me from further fears, give me, friend fisherman, a fuller imparting of this great mystery. Show that these assertions are consistent with the unity of God; that there is no blasphemy in them, no explaining away, no denial of eternity. He continues, 'He was in the beginning with God.' This 'He was in the beginning' removes the limit of time; the word God shows that He is more than a voice. That He is with God proves that He neither encroaches nor is encroached upon, for His identity is not swallowed up in that of another, and He is clearly stated to be present with the One Unbegotten God as God, His one and Only-begotten Son."

 Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 2.16
Psalm 89:20-29

I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. He shall cry to me, 'You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.' And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens. (ESV)
Prayer
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of your only-begotten Son, that at His second coming we may worship Him in purity; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
 
For all pastors and church leaders as they prepare to disclose the mysteries of the faith to God's people, that they too would rejoice at the message they proclaim
 
For all Christians, that they might heed the call of the gospel and anxiously wait upon the distribution of God's gifts in divine services on Sunday
 
For Gigi Welling Nitzburg, who is suffering from cancer, that God the Lord would strengthen and encourage her as she undergoes therapy, and that she would receive healing at the Lord's hand
 
For the Luther Academy as it supports Lutheran confessional teaching the world over, that the Lord would bless the proclamation of the gospel truth
 
For Herbert Mueller, Sr., the first vice president of the LCMS, that he might be upheld in every good deed
Art: Raffaellino dell Garbo  The Annunciation (c. 1510)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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