Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

[27] "Incarnation in the holiday season" [Rest and Bread; Wed. Dec. 8, 2010]

[Preached at Rest and Bread on Wednesday, December 8, 2010. Thanks to la bff for helping me select a Scripture passage.]

[Inspired by The Advent Conspiracy, Keith and I picked 4 alternative themes for Advent this year -- relationship, incarnation, sharing, and activation. Today is Incarnation.]
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, buy food and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk,
without money, without price!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you will eat well,
you will delight in rich fare;
bend your ear and come to me,
listen, that you may have life
I will make an everlasting Covenant with you--
in fulfillment of the blessings promised to David.
-Isaiah 55:1-3, The Inclusive Bible
"You who have no money, come, buy food and eat."

What a message that is for this season, when so many are struggling with economic scarcity.

The kindom of God, for which we wait expectantly this Advent season and all days, is a place where sustenance and abundance are available for all.

This passage also speaks to the goodness of nourishing our bodies.

While this season is full of pressures to buy more stuff, our physical bodies, the very stuff that houses our spirit, often become our enemy. Facing the glut of holiday sweets, we are deluged with tips and tricks for how to not have "too much," how to not "overindulge." We are pulled in opposite directions -- retailers invite us to gift ourselves and our loved ones with chocolates from Godiva, fruit baskets from Harry and David, colorfully foil wrapped candies from Hershey's ... while the morning shows are full of advice about how to enjoy the ubiquitous holiday parties without using up all our Weight Watchers points.

Hear again the word of God: "Heed me, and you will eat well, you will delight in rich fare."

I'm not saying that God wants you to eat nothing but processed sugar, but God's table is a table of abundance. The Communion table there, around which we will all gather later in the service, holds bread and fruit of the vine ... food to nourish and sustain you, food for you to enjoy. And of the surplus you are invited to eat and drink more after the service is over.

Food is central to so much of Jesus' ministry. Jesus eats with everyone -- from the Pharisees (scholars of the religious law) to tax collectors (agents of the oppressive Empire).

In Matthew's Gospel, we read Jesus saying:
     What comparison can I make with this generation?
     They are like children shouting to others as they sit in the marketplace, "We piped for you but you would not dance. We sang you a dirge, but you would not mourn."
     For John the Baptizer came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He is possessed."
     The Chosen One comes, eating and drinking, and they say, "This one is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners."
     Wisdom will be vindicated by her own actions.
(Matthew 11:18-19a, The Inclusive Bible)
Jesus experienced the same opposing cultural pressures as we do today. Wear a cloak of camel's hair out in the desert and eat locusts and honey, and people will say you're possessed. Say you're not buying Christmas gifts for anyone this year, and people will say you have no sense of the holiday spirit. Share meals with those who are "socially unacceptable," and people will say all sorts of nasty things about you. Head directly to the chocolate fondue station at the office party, bypassing the veggies and low-fat dip, and people may call you a glutton (though probably not to your face).

Our culture gives us lots of conflicting messages about bodies. I want to give you one message to take home: God likes bodies.

God thinks bodies are so good that God said, "I will have one of these myself."

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

This is what we anticipate and remember during the season of Advent -- that God, who had shown up in the world plenty of times before, in booming mountaintop and still small voice, in pillars of fire and cloud, chose to take on flesh, to be embodied...

{I extemporized an ending and as usual don't remember what I said -- I think it was about loving the bodies that God gave us, that God so loves, that God who formed us in our mother's womb called good.}
Tags: body theology, church: somerville: ucc: rest and bread, sermons: mine, sermons: mine: preached, son of a preacher man

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