Sunday, December 20, 2009

Praise, God's Way

Good friends, this is what I intended to talk about today but for some reason God lead to speak without notes today. So some of this made it into the Message and some of it didn't. I pray that God speaks to you in his Word read and proclaimed.

Friends, what’s the good news for today? It seems like every day this week all we’ve heard about is politicians or political action groups grumbling about the proposed health care package or news people rehashing for us one more time Tiger Wood’s family problems. The good news, if there’s been any, has been buried deep beneath all the gloom and doom of the world’s problems.
The news Micah had for Israel came to people who had either been conquered by the Assyrians or were about to be conquered by them. This fifth chapter was written for those who had been in exile. Micah is sharing God’s good news with the people about one whom God has chosen to rule Israel; one who is descended from a respected family from the little town of Bethlehem. And they were really starving for some good news. I’d like to hear some good news, wouldn’t you?
Wouldn’t you like to shout to God like today’s psalmist? “God come back! Smile your blessing smile!” Everyone just needs to hear some good news!
Luke gives us the story about the angel Gabriel coming to Mary telling her that she was going to get pregnant and give birth to a son who would be the savior of the world. We know that was good news now but if you had been Mary and living when she lived would you have received that message from God’s angel as good news?
I believe that’s why Mary should be remembered. She heard God’s message, and other than asking how this would be possible since she wasn’t married and had never been with a man, she accepted Gabriel’s answer. Her response was, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” I wonder how many of us would have responded like she did given the same set of circumstances.
Since Gabriel had told her about Elizabeth she decided it was time to pack her bag and go to the hill country of Judea to stay for a while and visit. As she came up the path to the town she caught sight of Elizabeth and gave her a shout.
I know that babies in the womb respond to outside stimulation such as sudden loud noises and music and so forth but baby John’s reaction must have been different given the comments recorded by Luke. Somehow Elizabeth knew that Mary was with child and she also knew somehow that the children they were both carrying were blessed by God. The course of their lives had been predetermined by God. One was to be a messenger to prepare the Way and the other would be the savior of the world, the Messiah.
Mary was so filled with joy that she burst out in song, accapello, praising God for the many great things he had done and was doing for his children. This song is known as The Magnificat, the first word in the Latin translation of this passage. Did you notice how this is a song portrays God as a champion of the poor, the down and out, and those whom no one wanted any contact with? And I like to believe that He is still that champion.
Mary received the news that she was going to be the mother of God’s son and she accepted that news and praised God for granting her such a blessing. So how is God praised today? Who is lifting up praise to Him today with joy in their hearts for receiving his blessing?
Friends, I ask you to take time today and the rest of this week to reflect on the graces you have received from God. As you remember lift your voice in song and praise to your creator, God, who continues to bless us every day.
Today we are reminded to proclaim God’s message of love to all people. Friends, you will come face to face with many of God’s children this week. As you look them in the face don’t let the opportunity slip by without taking the time to share with them how God has blessed you; how he loved the whole world so much that he sent his Son to live among us to show and teach us about his never ending love for us, his children and that includes them.
The Advent season is all about preparing for the coming of the Messiah. Messiah has come. He is coming again. It could be today. That’s why it’s so very important that we share the good news with everyone we meet. God doesn’t want anyone to miss out on eternal life in the new heaven and the New Jerusalem.
Do you know someone who hasn’t committed their life to Jesus? Why not tell them the story today while it’s fresh in your mind. Sing them your song of praise to God.
Friends, God loves you and so do I. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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