How were the Magi changed by meeting Jesus? How was Jesus’s life altered by meeting folks so different from him?
‘twas the Sunday after Christmas- the pews were all bare even though there was worship, almost no one was there. The pastor was wrapped in his stole and his robe and when asked “Isn’t Christmas over?” he simply quipped, “no.”
On December 24 1914, 19 year old Charles Brewer found himself in the last place anyone would want to be: knee-deep in the mud on a battlefield in Northern France. Five months into Great Britain’s entry into what is now known as World War I, the British Lieutenant sat in the seemingly endless rain, across a field from German soldiers. The war, likewise, seemed endless.
Hell hath no fury like a social justice oriented biblical snob. Maybe we’re a little touchy about some of this stuff.
“… most of you [are] good New Englanders… but I – a transplant from New York City – must confess to committing a sin almost on par to being a Yankees fan (which I’m not)….”
Jesus as ruler and leader usurps the position of emperors and governors and religious leaders who would seek that authority for themselves. Throughout his ministry, Jesus has echoed the cries of the prophets illuminating the ways that power corrupts people. He’s tried and tried again to show that those in authority must be governed by justice, that they must take care of all of the people in their charge with a focus on those on the edges of society and those with less privilege – widows and orphans and workers and immigrants.
Jesus as king turns the system on its head and takes away the control that others have tried to hoard for themselves.
We often look to scripture to help guide us on our life’s journey. We read the ancient stories hoping to find the way to face our world today; seeking solutions to age-old problems. Praying that the answers will be clear
“Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live.
Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God.
Wherever you die, I will also die and be buried there near you.
May the Eternal One punish me—and even more so— if anything besides death comes between us.”
What if we were able to pledge the same kind of love and loyalty to God, to each other?
This is where the theology of Jesus and the philosophy of John Lennon and Paul McCartney come crashing together: Love is all you need. Do you know that song?
All you need is love [do do-do-do-doooo] All you need is love [do do-do-do-doooo]…
I think Jesus could groove to that. But I’m not sure he would agree with those verses that each end the same way, like: “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.It’s … [easy…].” Is it? Easy?
There IS a balm when we listen to and believe victims of physical and psychological abuse
There IS a balm when we stop being silent and speak out,
There IS a balm when we fight for justice
There IS a balm when we stop being silent bystanders,
Through it all, God stands besides us, giving us the strength and courage of Jesus who chose death on the cross to show us that violence is never the answer.
There IS a balm in Gilead – it’s God’s truth, God’s promise of love and justice, it’s God’s new endeavor, working through your hands.