The Rev. Joseph Peters-Mathews is the vicar of St. Hilda St. Patrick. The sermon for Sunday, January 26, 2020 was preached extemporaneously. The Gospel text was Matthew 4.12-23.
Whenever it rains, whenever you look out at the ocean, whenever you wash your hands (which you should do frequently, by the way), remember that you are God’s beloved, and there’s nothing you can do about it. No failure, no insult, nothing on earth can separate you from that love. You are washed by the water.
The Word has become flesh and dwelt among us. It’s still Christmas.
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
God’s new reign is the heavenly Jerusalem coming to earth. And here at Christmas, we celebrate that heaven has come to earth as Jesus — fully God and fully human — is born.
The atonement for humanity, our at-one-ment, is when heaven arrives not in power and might, but in a cold, shivering, hungry, screaming baby, despite what “Silent Night” would have us believe.
Fleeing violence to fall seriously ill is a reality people along our southern border face. But Joseph didn’t change his plan. Mary said yes, and Jesus was born.
We spend a lot of time waiting. We can do it while wrapping ourselves in self-isolation – or we can wait joyfully with others, sharing our hopes and dreams for each other.
As we stay awake, not knowing when Jesus will return, we prepare for his return by working to see God’s vision realized and repenting of the ways we’ve failed to do so. Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.