Year C, Christmas 2, 2016 – Going Home
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
We are glad to have you with us, and we hope your holiday has been a time of refreshment for you! Now it is time to get back into the swing of preaching and worship planning. (Ah, Mom, just five more minutes!) Jeremiah’s oracle to the people in Babylon about God bringing them home forms the basis for the show’s title this week, and the John passage tells of the Word making a home among us. There has been a lot of homecoming in the past two weeks – you may have been on the road or in the air yourself. While we may not always be with our biological families, every Sunday we are with our spiritual families, and in a way, every Sunday we are Going Home.
This week’s texts are:
- Jeremiah 31:7-14 – We’ve talked before about reunions and the emotional load they bear. We understand both the excitement and dread that being with familiar people in familiar places brings. There is a reunion of sorts in the passage from Jeremiah, but it is mostly from God’s perspective. God is bringing the people home to the land in which they had been living before they were exiled to Babylon. Everyone is coming home and God is paying particular attention to the ones who will make travel a bit more difficult; those who don’t move well, those who cannot see, mothers about to give birth and those who will give birth soon. This is Good News of God’s grace and mercy, but the weeping in verse nine begs the question; are these tears of joy or sorrow? After all, the people making this trip are mostly those who had only ever known Babylon as home. The place to which they were traveling is the land of their ancestors. What does it mean to leave what you know to go to where God calls home?
- Eye, body, music, self smarts
- Jeremiah 31 worksheet
- Ephesians 1:3-14 – In Greek, this passage is a really long sentence at the start of Paul’s letter. In it, we hear a song of praise given to God’s glory for all that God has done for us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Son. Because of God’s graciousness, we who call Jesus Lord are adopted into the family and receive the same inheritance as our Brother. Paul speaks in legal terms about seals that for the people of his time would be the necessary bond to make adoptions final. For those who trust and follow Jesus, the seal we are given is the Holy Spirit that reveals the fulfilled “pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.” We are adopted by God. How, then, do we live as those who have inherited the same status in the family as Jesus?
- Eye, body, nature, people smarts
- Ephesians 1 worksheet
- John 1:(1-9) 10-18 – In 2000, Frances Taylor Gench wrote a Horizons Bible study curriculum for the Presbyterian Women called “Women and the Word: Studies in the Gospel of John.” In her first lesson, Gench writes that the “thing that matters most is what the Word means for our lives and for the life of the world.” The Word that was with God and through whom all things were created, left the cosmic plane and came down to live with us. The Greek word that we usually translate as “live” or “dwell” (eskenosen) has another, more literal, meaning – “pitched a tent.” The Divine Word once again camped out with the people God calls God’s own. With all the dislocation in our modern world, what does it mean that the Creator of all comes down and throws up a tent right next to ours? Do we recognize our new neighbor as the Lord of All?
- Math, body, nature smarts
- John 1 worksheet
… in Ephesians
- Gift of the Magi
- David Platt talking about adopting his son
- Stevie Wonder, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”
… in Jeremiah
- “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” to Vox Delecti
- “Going Home” Dvorak’s New World Symphony, 2nd movement
… in John