Message for Bethlehem, January 5, 2003
Pastor’s Message for January 5th 2003 at Bethlehem Lutheran, Oakland
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1: 14.
That verse contains the whole Christmas Story and also represents the way the new creation begins: by the birth of a baby. The One whom the universe cannot contain, comes to you as a tender child! A New Year’s baby! So let the Word of God made flesh start your New Year right: let the child in Bethlehem’s manger be your beginning, your growing up, your getting older, and your dying,
so that you might be raised with him,
lifted up with him,
the way God lifts up your hearts,
lifts up your voice,
enraptures you in the words of your prayers
ascending up into heaven.
The Word of God descends only to ascend again
in the divine cadence
that speaks from generation to generation.
The heavens and the earth will pass away,
but God’s Word shall not pass away.
“The generations are like grass, but God’s Word remains forever.” No, the generations in Christ are words heard by God, treasured in God’s heavenly heart forever.
The point is to be inside this Word, to get into that heart. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, there’s room in my heart for you!
Let the word dwell in you richly by memorizing it, praying it, singing it, meditating on it the way people did from time immemorial before you. “Flesh” in Hebrew meant a “human being”.
“The Word became flesh” means the word became a human being.
The word in you will also make you a human being,
A precious person called for the purposes of God.
Flesh is opposed to the spirit only when a person is self-absorbed and turns away from God and neighbor. But when your whole lives are emptied out and filled with the things of God and the concerns of others you are in the spirit. So for you to be words that become flesh, you have to come out of yourselves and live out of God’s love for others.
May the Word make you precious persons called for God’s purposes:
Be words filled with hope
like donuts filled with raspberry jelly.
Be words filled by love
like kisses under a mistletoe.
Be words filled with faith
like a child holding the hand of its mother.
May Bethlehem be full of holy words filled with faith, hope, and love. Words who receive the new flesh and blood of the Gospel. Amen.