2014-12-21 GOOD CHRISTIAN FRIENDS, REJOICE
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2nd Samuel 7:1-11,16 & Luke 1:26-38
GOOD CHRISTIAN FRIENDS, REJOICE! The 4th sermon in the series, “Sing We Now of Christmas” Waiting. When Deb & I got married, during communion I leaned over to her & excited whispered, “We’re still at the wedding!” We were enjoying this major life event which was waited for & planned & dreamt about for years. It was no 10-minute slapdash affair. Ours wasn’t even a 30-minute or 60minute event. It took us a long time – two hours - to “get hitched,” as one parishioner disparagingly described at the time. We wanted to bask in this time together with family, friends, & God, with all of the music, ceremony, splendor, & blessedness attendant upon such an occasion. Waiting for fun events is a large part of the fun. Whether it’s a wedding, vacation, party, graduation, retirement, the birth of a baby, or Christmas to which we’re looking forward…. I recall a study confirming that the dreaming, planning, & general anticipation contribute to the overall great feeling we enjoy. Sometimes, the anticipatory emotions are more powerful than the long-awaited experience, itself. So, yes, we say that we can’t wait, but we really can! Waiting. When it’s bad news we anticipate, waiting is no fun. It’s upsetting, unset-tling, unnerving. Many of us, particularly some of our youth & adults, know what that’s like this past week awaiting news of their classmates, Nina & Anthony Flick, & friends, Pat Hill & Brad Stone. Each had strong connections here. In those instances, when we say we can’t wait for the news, but must (wait), it’s terrible. Waiting. King David was told to wait. Imagine telling a king to wait. Only God can say that to a monarch of David’s stature… and that’s just what God did. David wasn’t in the habit of waiting. When the young shepherd boy fought Goliath, he felled the legendary Philistine warrior immediately, as that slingshot stone met its mark. When King David ordered things to happen in Israel, they did. When he lusted after the stunning Bathsheba, he wasted no time consummating that illicit relationship with his battlefield commander’s trophy wife. David was not one for waiting, & never really had to (wait). When David graciously offered to build a temple for God, he waited? Yes, he initially received the go-ahead from the trusted prophet, Nathan, but before the next day, all that changed. He was told to wait. Imagine planning to engage in such an unselfish construction project, then being informed that God had someone else in mind to manage the enterprise. God didn’t mind waiting for a temple, but King David had to wait to build it. A future generation would construct it, he was informed, only after David’s reign was secured forever. Gee, how long would that take? Waiting. Historically speaking, it would only take one more generation. David’s son, Solomon, would build the temple for God. Although the Hebrews didn’t realize it at the time, the real place for God to reside would not be a palace built with hands (Acts 7:48; 17:24). Instead, the Creator would take residence in God’s crowning achievement, a human life. God would be born in Mary, someone described as common, even lowly (Luke 1:48). God, however, would not stop there. God wouldn’t be content in a temple fit for a king or even in Mary. It would not be some grand castle or womb where God chose to abide, but a far more sublime dwelling for the Almighty. You see, it would not be a physical abode at all, but an “interior castle,” as St. Teresa of Avila called it, in one’s soul. 1
2nd Samuel 7:1-11,16 & Luke 1:26-38
God asks to reside in the human heart, every human heart. God isn’t confined exclusively to the hearts of leading monarchs like David or the high priests in the tabernacle or holy prophets like Nathan or even Mary, but chooses to be in every heart that welcomes God as Savior & Ruler. And guess what? There’s no waiting. No waiting! Yes, the world had to wait for the Messiah. Yes, Mary had to wait nine months. Yes, we all await the physical second coming of the Christ when creation will be made perfect again. For God to come into our hearts & transform us, though, is immediate. No waiting. The irony is: although we don’t wait, God waits. God waits for us to invite Jesus into our lives. And, God must wonder sometimes, “What’s taking so long?” So, for all of the normally impatient people… who dislike lines, who get the FAST passes at Disneyworld, who use the express check-out, who prefer the microwave to stove-top cooking, fast food to a more formal restaurant, on-line banking to tellers, Fast Pass to coin drops, interstate highways to meandering country roads, summer courses to the regular semester, one-minute management to an M.B.A., instant refunds, instant cocoa, Minute Rice, & Quick Books: for what are you waiting? Do you consider yourself above this faith stuff? Are you too good for God? // Does some religious misconception have you intellectually or emotionally hamstrung, especially after the seemingly inexplicable events of this past week in our community, in Pakistan, in Sydney? Do you just complain about how bad life is, how confused & worried you are about the world, how hurting & dangerous people bring more danger & hurt to mar goodness & innocence? // Or, is God still waiting because there’s something of which you’re personally ashamed, believing you’re not good enough? What has you fretting or down or downright scared? Is that something temporary, frequent, on-going, or seeming to build with each passing week? // What’s holding you back? Why are you waiting? How many of you genuinely want to be & do better in life – for yourself, for others, for God? “Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation,” the Apostle St. Paul reminds us (2nd Corinthians 6:2). If you can’t wait for something this good, wait no longer. If you can’t wait out all of the bad things in life that bring you down & are impatient for life to improve, wait no longer. Our carol announces, “He has opened heaven’s door” for you! Good Christian friends, rejoice! There’s no waiting! In the Name….
Copyright 2014 by G.D.Knerr at Lansdale, Pa. All rights reserved.