As we listen for sacred spirit speaking to us, the assigned reading for this day is the baptism of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew. As I thought about this text, I was interested in the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, so I read other stories about their relationship in the gospel to see what insight might come from the storyteller. Today, while we follow the assigned reading, we expand that reading by including some of that wider story.
There is a lot in these texts, more than we can possibly explore in a few minutes, and so this morning I want to draw out just one recurring spirit theme, a theme linked to feminist theology, male spirituality and Celtic notion of spirit friendship.
The theme is captured in the words of Jesus when Jesus says “greater than John has never been seen, yet the least in the kin-dom of heaven is greater than he”. “greater than John has never been seen, yet the least in the kin-dom of heaven is greater than he”. The theme is that "the least is greater"
Based on a Reflection by Brian Cornelius. on December 24th
This Christmas Eve, we have been joining our voices with angelic and prophetic voices as we invite the light of God’s love to be re-born in us. On this Christmas Eve of 2013, we cannot help but think of some voices raised in 2013, voices that spoke to our hearts.
Nelson Mandela, one who embodied the love of the Christ-light as a reconciler reminded us that We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. Mandela was not one simply to make grandious statements but applied it to practical living reminding us, with clarity and simple advice, to live love and forgiveness noting that resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. His humility was such that he insisted that he not be thought of as extraordinary declaring “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying and Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
Might this passion to keep getting back up be born in us tonight?
Alice Munro, recognized for her life-long creative and literary genius, a genius that is ever learning and ever growing, a woman of curiousity who writes The constant happiness is curiosity, because a curious person will put things together, knowing all along that they may be mistaken. You see them going around with notebooks, scraping the dirt off gravestones, reading microfilm, just in the hope of seeing this trickle in time, in the hope of making a connection, in the hope of rescuing one thing from the rubbish.
Can such curiousity be born in us tonight?
Based on a Reflection by Brian Cornelius on December 15th, 2013
When reading about the magi in the gospel of Matthew, the phrase that captures my attention is the last phrase where the Magi, these wisdom figures from the East "returned to their own country a different way."
But not only was the way different, they were different. Signs in the heavens had propelled them on a journey away from their homeland, only to return to that homeland different. These Magi embody those words of Nelson Mandela that we noted last week… "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered".
As we ponder this mythic story, I want to focus on this theme of returning home as one who is altered, and this includes the surprising realization that Christmas is "stableless".