Sunday, 4 January 2009

Became Flesh

Christmas 2 year B Sermon 

‘He was in the world…and though the world was made through him…the world didn’t recognize him.’  

The world… did… not… recognise him. Ok… maybe the world didn’t recognise him…but surely his own kith and kin knew who he was

But no…John’s Gospel tells us

‘He came to that which was his own…but even his own didn’t receive him.’

 Well from the looks of it the world still doesn’t recognise him and…

It seems his own still don’t receive him…his own are going to war wearing their prayer shawls 

Since Israel launched the bombing campaign a week ago, at least 400 Palestinian’s, including 42 children, have been killed in Gaza.  

On the other hand Palestinian militants…continue to fire their rockets into Israel

where at least 90 have landed…killing four Israelis…and wounding many others 


And what’s so crazy about this mess…is Israel’s attacking Gaza…because the Jewish people want to be safe from Palestinian rockets on their land…and Palestinians are attacking Israel…because they want to be safe and secure…on their land lane Israel now occupies


These descendents of Abraham Isaac Jacob and Esau… aren’t their brother’s keeper… they see their brothers as unequal and unlovable enemies . 

The injustices and brutalities each commit...are only sustainable because both sides have dehumanized the other… tallying the bodies of men women and children…as collateral damage for their cause.

Israelis and Palestinians… are confronted with a fundamental question…are their enemies human flesh…

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth"

Can the conditions that make peace for human flesh… justice mercy and the sharing of resources among… be created again in Israel and Palestine?

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

God’s Word made flesh ‘gave the right to become children of God to those who received him and believed in his name…

‘children born… not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.’

If ethnic and religious pedigree…are not enough to be called the children of God then what does it mean to receive Jesus, to believe in his name? Does that mean Jesus is God and how is that even possible since we know he was a man…a human being…with a fragile body just like ours?

That’s just the point…John is saying…in his Gospel…

In the beginning God spoke…God’s word came out of God…and everything was created through that Word…

Remember…in the scroll of Isaiah…As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and dont return to it without watering the earthand making it bud and flourish, so it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: 

It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;  the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

So you see John explains  

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God"

And then John tells us…when human affairs were really getting out of handand only divine intervention would do…God’s Word…actually entered into the dimension of time and space… and became a human body…born from the body of a human woman.

John wanted those who heard his Gospel to understand the magnitude of this belief. In Jesus…the creator of the universe… divine… eternal…God…the great I AM actually joins with fragile…mortal… imperfect flesh.

And one of my favourite Christian writers Ched Myers cries… Oh ‘if only the Word could have stayed a word, then we could have completely controlled it… with a doctrinal statement or a theological assertion.

If only this Word had stayed a word, then we could have encased it in a book and guarded it as holy. But no, this Word took the unmanageable turn of becoming flesh.’

‘Historically, the church has always been tempted to think of Jesus as Spirit. It’s too close for comfort to think Jesus really was human.’

‘But God made gardens. We did not get it. God sent floods. We did not get it. God sent prophets. We did not get it. God sent laws. We did not get it. Finally, finally, God sent flesh, God's own flesh, so maybe we would get it.’

‘Maybe now we could understand a love we can touch, so full of grace and truth.’

Hadn’t Paul written God’s purpose is in fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on Earth?

You know what I think…I think God so loved the world…this crazy, messed-up, haven't-got-it-right-yet world…that God's very Word became flesh like us

So that maybe… if we could see and hear and touch God’s love… so full of grace and truth…then… maybe we could understand it…may we’d believe in it.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth"

And what did God's own Word… made flesh do…while dwelling among us? He touched us didn’t he?he touched broken bodies with healing.

He fed hungry bodies. He hugged children's bodies. 

He led rejected bodies back into community. He laughed and cried. And finally he sacrificed his own body. And then he left us with the words, "This is my body, broken for you."

And his body has a name…His name is Jesus…And the powerful message of Johns Gospel… is that Jesus flesh…his vulnerable destructible body… can’t be separated from God… 

And the powerful message of Johns Gospel is to all who do receive him, to all who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God…

You can receive him into your heart but will you can receive him into your neighbourhood… you can believe in his name will you practise his teaching…but do you bear his yoke… you have heard it said…an eye for an eye…but he said…blessed are the peacemakers…he said love one another as I have loved you…

Each of us has our own version of the Gaza Strip. Each of us….adlib

He is the revelation of God in time and space and if you haven’t received him if you haven’t believed in his name and if you have treated others as objects rather than human beings…if you’ve refused to see his humanity in those you ridicule or reject…

Then I pray that as you listen you will repent…turn to back to God… seek his face in Jesus…receive him as we listen to this song and let him bring you home to live as a child of God.