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Outsourcing Labor to China: Blogging my Thoughts

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Blogging my thoughts: Peter Krey, January 26, 2012

Outsourcing Labor to China

For outsourcing labor to China, companies should have to pay a certain fee, like a tariff for each worker, or a certain substantial amount for each foreign factory contract that could have been an American one. If workers here were paid $2,000 a month and over there they receive $200, then a profit for the company of $1,800 a month accrues for each American worker. Why not have one quarter of that amount go toward profit or reduced prices, but have three quarters of that amount become divided between the American and Chinese workers? This incredible sum of money, $1,350 per worker per month could be used for worker training and retooling in community colleges and in China for improving the quality of workers’ lives.

As stated in the New York Times (01/26/2012) “What’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that” (pages A2 and B10).

Workers here languish in unemployment while workers there are committing suicide, dying in aluminum dust explosions, and rioting “under the often harsh and dangerous conditions that laborers endure in Chinese factories where iPhones, iPads, and other high-tech devices are assembled” (A2).

The advantage of fast technological innovation and low prices for ourselves as consumers is offset by atrocious levels of human social and personal cost. Steve Jobs, as much as we admire and praise him, made $200 billion and the workers there are squeezed for $22 a day, if they work 12 hour shifts, mostly six days a week or more, with 20 workers living in a three room apartments in dormitories. They cannot even live with their families! Without any power, these workers are at the mercy of a system which has none.

Apple is trying to audit factories and improve safety conditions there. (Where is the Chinese government? Don’t they care about their people?) But then Apple, a very demanding client, requires another ten percent cut in cost from the supplying factory, so what concern do they really have for safety? Safety will be the first thing discarded in order to achieve the ten percent cut in cost required from the Chinese company.

Companies that destroy nature are called to task. Why not charge them when they flee workers who have some say-so and some rights, for those poor workers that have none? Shouldn’t companies also be called to task for the social and personal suffering that they cause?

Does an economic system have to be so radical that it nails so many poor workers on a cross for the sake of the incredible wealth of a few and our luxury of having such low prices?

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Written by peterkrey

January 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm

More German Love Poems

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German Love Poems from the time of Medieval Courtly Love: (ca. 1050 – ca. 1450)

Translated from the Middle High German by peter krey 01/24/2012

 

A Knight was Mine

“A knight served me.” said a wife,

“For my every wish he lived his life.

Before the seasons changed

Weren’t his benefits arranged?

I think about winter and the snow,

green clover and how flowers grow,

when I let my captive go.

Even if the world filled up with sorrow

Anything he wishes is his, tomorrow.”

In German

Mir hat ein Ritter“ …

Mir hat ein Ritter,“ sprach ein Weib,

„gedienet nach dem Willen mein.

Verwandelt  hat sich je die Zeit,

so muss es ihm doch gelohnet sein.

Ich denk an Winter und den Schnee

schöne Blumen und den Klee,

schon wann ich ihn befreit habe.

Und wäre alle Welt voll Leit versehn, 

so muss sein Wille an mir ergehn.“

 

In Middle High German

Mir hât ein ritter“ …

„Mir hât ein ritter,“ sprach ein wîp,

„gedienet nâch dem willen mîn.

Ê sich verwandelôt diu zît,

sô muoz im doch gelônet sîn.

Mich dunket winter unde snê

schœne bluomen unde klê,

swenn ich in umbevangen hân.

und wærez al der werlte leit,

sô muoz sîn wille an mir ergân.“

 

I’ve a Yearning Need

I’ve a yearning need

hurting me so!

It makes the winter cold

and whitens all the snow.

When summer finally comes

I’ll bind my body and my life

to an oh-so beautiful and lovely wife.

In Modern German

Ich hab eine sehnende Not …

Ich hab eine sehnende Not,

die tut mir all so weh;

Das macht mir ein Winter kalt

Und auch so weis der Schnee:

Kommt mir die Sommerzeit,

so wollte ich binden meinen Leib

an ein so-sehr-schönes Weib.

 

In Middle High German

Ich hân eine senede nôt …

Ich hân eine senede nôt,

diu tuot mir alsô wê;

Daz machet mir ein winder kalt

Und ouch der wîze snê:

Kœme mir diu sumerzît,

sô wolde ich prîsen mînen lîp

umb ein vil harte schœnez wîp.

N.B. Das Wort „harte“ bedeutet stark oder sehr.

 

Beautiful Summer-Time

I never thought the summer could be

so radiantly beautiful for me.

Many flowers in the heather

adorn the meadow altogether.

The forest is full of song,

sweet birds singing all day long.

In Middle High German:

Ich gesach den sumer nie…

Ich gesach den sumer nie,

daz er sô schône dûhte mich.

Mit menigen bluomen wol getân

Diu heide hât gezieret sich.

Sanges ist der walt sô vol:

Diu zît diu tuot den kleinen vogelen wol.

Compare the Latin:

Estas non apparuit

preteritus temporibus

que sic clara fuerit:

ornantur prata floribus.

aves nunc in silva canunt

et canendo dulce garriunt.

(The Latin is from the Carmina Burana.)

 

In Modern German:

Ich sag, der Sommer ist nie…

Ich sag, der Sommer ist nie,

gewesen so schön für mich.

Mit einer Menge von Blumen wohl

hat die Heide jetzt gezieret sich.

Mit Gesang ist der Wald so voll:

Die Zeit die tut den kleinen Vöglein wohl.

If you like these, check out “Were this Whole World Mine.”

And for a real favorite, see “Du Bist Mein, ich Bin Dein”

 [1] From the Heath Anthology of German Poetry, edited by August Closs and T. Pugh Williams, (Boston: D.C. Heath and Company, Undated, 1950?), pages 74-75.

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January 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

A Myth in which Humans are Changed into Trees

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Keely Garfield describes a myth in which humans are changed into trees:

“The inhabitants of ‘Twin Pines’ wrangle through twisted branches of human ecology, foraging a middle path around root causes of desire and dread. Seedling thoughts grow into monstrous reflections and are cut down to size. Like a tree entrenched in earth, ‘Twin Pines’ strives toward heaven with overarching limbs trembling for contact.” (from today’s NY Times 1/13/12, p. C19)

How do you like that for an extended metaphor!?

Josh tells me that we are all exaggerated trees. But we synthesize photos while trees do photosynthesis and we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, while trees use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Now that’s a difference!

Written by peterkrey

January 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm

“Ascending and Descending Angels,” Second Sunday after Epiphany 2012 at Shepherd by the Sea, Gualala, CA

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Shepherd of the Sea Episcopal/Lutheran Mission

Second Sunday after Epiphany – January 15, 2012

1 Samuel 3:1-20 Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 John1:43-51

Ascending and Descending Angels

The lessons today are mostly about being called and being sent out on the great mission of Christ. (At the end this sermon will take the call in a different direction.) We are all called by Christ by dint of our baptism and thus we should not give ourselves short shrift no matter our vocation. We often narrow down the call only to clergy, which violates the recognition that we are the royal priesthood of all believers and just because we are not clergy, does not get us off the hook. On NPR’s Forum Friday, they were extending the call for farmers, because in California 20% are over 70 years old and a far greater percentage are over 60. What an opportunity to make a moral witness to Christ. In the pastors’ Bible Study this week we heard the story of a little girl, who saw an injured bird in a puddle, took it home, mended its broken wing, and right there felt the call to be a doctor.

The Old Testament figure, Samuel, is also called as a young boy and he is called in a time when “the word of the Lord was rare and visions were not widespread.” (Call the name: “Samuel, Samuel!”) The boy slept in the nave of the church, where God called him even though he “did not yet know the Lord and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” On top of that, it is a very hard message that the Lord reveals to him. But by his call Samuel overcomes the corruption of Eli’s sons, who while ruling were fleecing their flocks, that is, taking for themselves the first-fruits of the offerings of the people, and Samuel becomes trustworthy and “none of his words fall to the ground.” His words, carried by the Spirit of God, lift the people up in a very difficult time. Was there any judge of Israel greater than God’s gift, Samuel, her firstborn son, to Hannah, who had been barren and infertile so many years?

The One who stood before Samuel is the very same one we call Jesus, now calling his disciples and also calling us. Jesus does not sleep near the Arc of the Covenant, like Samuel, but he himself is the Christ Candle burning for God’s rule of Israel. On the dusty roads between Bethany, east of the River Jordan and Bethsaida, beside the Sea of Galilee, [in a bodily, outdoor temple] he is worshiping God in Spirit and in truth.

According to Huston Smith, a scholar of the religions of the world, Jesus had the spirit world at his beck and call. “What made [Jesus] outlive his time and place was the way he used the Spirit that coursed through him, not just to heal individuals – this was his aspiration: to heal humanity, beginning with his own people.”[1] (That’s why Jesus reaches you people in Gualala even today.) Now Smith is looking at Jesus from a human point of view. But Jesus still baptizes his followers today with fire and spirit, because he is burning with love, healing, and fresh life and ushering in the new order of things caught up and sustained by the Holy Spirit. When he calls Philip, Philip feels sent to call Nathaniel. The healing spirit is contagious and whether we are Lutheran or Episcopal or other, we have to catch it like Philip did. He tells Nathaniel, “We’ve found him about whom Moses in the law and all the prophets wrote: Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathaniel asks. It was a town in the boondocks that was too insignificant to have even a rabbi.

Philip says, “Come and See!”

Upon their meeting, Jesus encounters Nathaniel with the truth about himself. He saw him under a fig tree, which might have been a place of meditation. Of course, Nathaniel has come to check out this fellow, who he thinks is a false Messiah. But he hears Christ referring to him as an Israelite in whom there is no deceit and it happens that Nathaniel wanted to be as authentic as our Psalm 139 for today requires. He also struggles with the fact that Israel was Jacob, the liar and deceiver, who cheated his brother out of his birthright and deceived his father. As much as Samuel was overcoming corruption, Nathaniel wanted to overcome how we deceive each other.

My father used to say, “We all like to deceive each other, but most of all we love to deceive ourselves.”

Nathaniel encounters Jesus who is into the truth and the love that truth brings into the world, the new life that truth brings out. Truth gives birth to love. Lies and deceit parent hate, conflict, killing, and war. A person who is truthful, genuine, and authentic to his or her inner core is a healing presence and refreshing life. So don’t listen to the debates; I mean really do listen, but with a critical ear, because they tear each other up and in some kind of a misguided way, they tear everybody down. Is that genuine democracy? I wonder.

What Nathaniel also heard from Jesus was his allusion to Jacob’s ladder, where the heavens open with “the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

We often obliterate the spirit world because we are blinded by scientific materialism and naturalism. More and more we understand that now it is not a “God of the gaps,” but a science filled with gaps, where 90% of the universe is made out of dark matter and dark energy that we cannot understand. Jesus was very much in touch with the spiritual dimension of reality, which we have often learned to filter out completely. Huston Smiths writes that Jesus saw the heavens open, when he was baptized and the Spirit diving down on him like a dove and driving him into the wilderness forty days and nights of prayer and fasting and tempting by the devil.[2] That was quite a spiritual boot-camp!

My brother Philip and I have published a book called Luther’s Spirituality, in the series called the “Classics in Western Spirituality,” where Luther has a whole piece on the angels ascending and descending upon Jesus. Luther’s writing, “Freedom of a Christian,” which I’ll be referring to, is also in our book.[3]

Luther understands the angels ascending and descending [in and out of space and time] at the wonder of the incarnation. That heavenly God had come into the world in this Jesus and was spreading a new creation and an overflowing redemption among the people of the world.

The angels flutter up and down from the spirit world into ours with utter amazement, not knowing what to make of the Creator of the whole universe, which cannot even contain God, who has suddenly become a human being, plagued by the devil down here in the depths, just like all of us sinners. The angels go up and down, first gazing at God on high and then descending in utter astonishment at the sight of Jesus, who became one of us, God among and with us in human flesh. (I really don’t do justice to Luther’s words. You may want to read them yourselves.)[4]

The angels ascended and descended especially at Jesus’ birth over the shepherds in Bethlehem’s hills, because the One who created the whole universe was a little babe lying in a manger. This is the Creator, who is high beyond what even the angels can grasp, and he is now held in the arms of a woman and being nurtured at her breasts, fitting into a tiny crib. The angels look up at God and then down at this little baby and they cannot marvel enough that God has become a human being and this lowly infant is God in the flesh.

Luther sees the mystery of the incarnation as the union between God and a human being in Jesus Christ in the open heavens, that is, the spirit world, from which the angels descend and ascend in wonder.

One handsome and illustrious angel was offended, Luther tells, citing St. Bernard, because he thought God should have become an angel and not a lowly human being. He was angry and envious that God bypassed him to become flesh. (For the Hebrew language, the term “flesh” means human beings.) Thereupon, the angelic revolt was cast out of heaven and these fallen angels have become the devil and the demons that ravage the people of the earth.

Luther notes that Jesus does not mention the ladder in his allusion to Jacob’s dream and, of course, the angels don’t need one. But it is interesting to consider the significance of the rungs running up and down the ladder. (Perhaps my hymn for the day should have been: “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder, Every rung goes higher higher, Soldiers of the cross!”)

When I studied and translated Luther’s “Freedom of a Christian,” I noticed that Luther presents a tension of opposites, which propels human growth and maturity. We know about his opposition of faith and love, law and gospel, and the tension he depicts in the great opposition between being human and divine. He also claims that we are sinners and saints at one and the same time. If that is not enough, he claims that Christian persons are free sovereigns over all things and subject to no one, through faith, let me I add; and they are complete slaves under all things, subject to everyone, because of love. The opposition between faith and love is crucial here.

This tension propels those who are called and sent up the rungs of the ladder with higher and higher angel power, as I like to say. A person called by Christ becomes a firstborn, no matter their actual birth order in a family. I am the eleventh child and my wife is a firstborn and I like this promise a lot, while she cannot understand it. But whatever your earthly birth order, first, last, or middle, you become a firstborn child of God. Imagine having a place at the table of the family of God!

On the next rung of the ladder, you receive the nobility of the spirit. You become a king or queen, a sovereign before God. You can not only take care of yourself, but of your spouse, your children, your church, your community. You could become a dynamite mayor, governor, and president and actually make good times come here again,

“Happy days are here again, the skies above are clear again, so let’s sing a song of cheer again, Happy days are here again!”

You will govern the whole country in the powerful spirit and light of God. Like Max Weber says, politics is a vocation. It’s a wonderful calling to set policies in place to lift up people.

The next rung lifts you into God’s royal priesthood, where you intercede for others before God and none of your words fall to the ground, but rise up to heaven and God listens to you and carries out the prayers on your lips that help and save God’s people.

Then in faith the angels lift you up to the next rung, where you become a Christ to your neighbors. Because of your love and your hunger and thirst for justice, you become persecuted and tortured and you suffer and die for your love and concern for others. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom we celebrate tomorrow, was on this rung. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down your life for your friends and as we know, we are asked to love even our enemies. From that rung, the angels lift you up into the life of God, the source of all life and continuous creation. In God you experience what eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, nor anything a heart can imagine, so wonderful are the things that God prepares for those who love him.

But that whole ascent in faith goes down the same rungs, when you are in the free fall of love. Down from God to being a Christ, a priest, a sovereign, a firstborn, like when “The Price is Right” used to say, “Come on down!” And we go down, down, down, even under the lowliest sinner. Christ even descended into hell, died like a criminal on the cross, saving sinners that even suffer from the worst addictions and are driven by many a devil. Christ even died for the murderer, Barabbas, by being executed in his place.

And the great mystery, that astonishes all the angels, for which we really don’t need a ladder either, is that the ascent in faith provides us with the strength for the descent in love. And in the great mystery, the heights and the depths are one and we are never outside of God and the love of God, to quote Luther from the “Freedom of a Christian” again.[5]

Will you answer your call, when Jesus calls you? Growing up is painful. But there is no gain without pain. Will you follow the better angels of your nature and become the person that Christ sends out to save all the sorry people that God loves so much? Will you get carried away in the Holy Spirit and continue the mission of Christ? It is a cop-out to say, “I don’t have a call, because I am not a pastor!” If you are baptized, you have the call of Christ. You too are called to be an “I am!” and a healing presence to your neighbor like Jesus and be a Christ to others no matter what your vocation. Imagine the self-esteem, better yet Christ-esteem that is yours when you straighten out, stand upright, and realize all the strength that God’s angels offer you from on high! You often want a car with more horse power, but have you considered being a person with more angel power?  So knowing our high calling, we stoop down out of that strength to help the lowliest, the very most wretched human beings, indeed, all of God’s creatures that have a claim on our love. Let us answer the call of Christ, whatever our God-given vocation and fill it with Jesus’ loving, gracious, angel power from on high. Amen.


[1] Huston Smith, The World’s Religions: Completely Revised and Updated Edition of the Religions of Man, (Harper San Francisco: a Division of Harper Collins Publishers, 1991), page 321.

[2] Ibid., page 320.

[3] In Philip and Peter Krey, Luther’s Spirituality, (New York: Paulist Press, 2007), pages 69-90 and see Dr. Peter Krey,  “Notes on Another Reading of the ‘Freedom of a Christian’” (1520)  http://www.scholardarity.com/?page_id=448/

[4] Philip and Peter Krey, Luther’s Spirituality, pages 172-181.

[5] Ibid., page 90.

Sermon First Sunday of Christmas: Believing is Seeing, New Year’s Day, 2012 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oakland, CA

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First Sunday of Christmas at Resurrection Lutheran Church Oakland, California January 1, 2012

Believing is Seeing

Isaiah 61:10-62:3 Psalm 148 Gal 4:4-7 Luke 2:22-40

We’re celebrating the first Sunday of Christmas here on the secular New Year’s Day, 2012. The year 2011 was quite a rough one. We wonder what the New Year 2012 will bring. When we wonder it is with good hope in our hearts because of Christmas and our celebration of God coming to be with us in Christ. Therefore, whatever the New Year brings, God in Christ with all the gospel promises will remain, stay, abide, accompany, and carry us right on through it – I want to be redundant as possible to increase our faith. For with faith we will attain more than victory.

For the secular order seeing is believing, but for people of faith believing is seeing. Believing is a new sense of sight and this sight is representative for all our senses and indeed, for the renewal of our whole being, which is the only thing that will make our new Year become really fresh and new.

For Christians Advent begins the New Year. Without the birth of Christ and the new quality of existence that becomes ours through the new birth that we receive through Christ, one year will just follow another, like Shakespeare says, ”until the last syllable of recorded time.” We “fret our lives on a stage” and “it all signifies nothing.” (I know I am conflating a few of Shakespeare’s quotes.)[1]

The secular gets all its life and meaning from the Incarnation, as our Galatians texts says, “In the fullness of time, God sent his Son, born of a woman – meaning that Christ was human, and born under the law, meaning that he was a Jew, to redeem those who are under the law – that we also might achieve the adoption as [God’s] children.”

My father would compare the secular order to a freight train that was still moving after the locomotive, the engine had become detached. The wagons would still roll for a while, but disconnected from the source of their movement, they would have to come to a stop.

When we stay connected with God by remaining people of faith, our believing becomes transformed into seeing, that is experience. Through faith God is at work in us and brings about our seeing “the salvation that God has prepared in the presence of all people” and “the redemption of Jerusalem” – to use the prophetic words of Simeon and Anna in the temple.

Remember how the people in Bethlehem’s nativity were amazed at what the shepherd’s told them? They told them how the angel of the Lord revealed to them that this little one, born in a stall and laid in a food trough, was Christ our Savior. Here in the temple, poor Mary and Joseph are amazed at what Simeon and Anna tell them about their child. We know that they were poor because they could not afford to offer a lamb, but could only offer two turtle doves or young pigeons for their first born offering. But through the eyes of faith and the leading of the Holy Spirit, Simeon and Anna could see that Mary and Joseph without realizing it were bringing with them – the Lamb of God!

We miss the boat when these amazing revelations are not believed by us and what’s more, when we do not believe that they are about us. After we hear the narrative of Joseph and Mary following the law and going to the temple, it is about them in the third person. But we also have to believe the story so that we see that it is about us – in the first and second persons, about me and you. Then it becomes the story that we are living here and now.

Thus St. Paul tells us in Galatians: in the fullness of time, God sent his Son so that we might receive adoption as [God’s] children. And because we are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son, Jesus Christ, into our hearts, crying Abba, dear Father. Thus we are no longer slaves, but children and if children then heirs of God through Christ.”

Can you possibly imagine what it means to be an heir of God? God is much richer that Rockefeller and we have been adopted in God’s family and we receive places around the Table of the Lord.

These matters are hard to believe, because what we see is so adversely opposed and contradictory. The world is very much with us – our suffering, our pain, our disappointment, our realization that our days are numbered. But the good news is that Christ has come to marvelously exchange his divine and immortal nature for our human mortal one. Christ will exchange our sinful human birth for his divine and righteous birth. In our song, “Let All Together Praise Our God,”[2] we will sing that Christ will become the slave and I a lord[3] or if you like, Christ a slave and I a lady, in the sense of nobility, the nobility of the spirit; in the sense of graduating in stature to a first born status, whatever your actual birth order. I am the eleventh child, but Christ makes me and you become first born. In this marvelous exchange with Christ, we become promoted beyond nobility, because what family can match having one drop of the blood of Christ? In faith we ascend into the royal priesthood and become Christs one to another until we ascend by faith into the divine things of God. This wonderful ascent comes from the marvelous exchange brought about through faith. Believe it and you will receive it. Believe it not and you won’t.[4]

To anticipate our sermon hymn again, when we sang the song it always gave me such a thrill when I heard that the angel no longer blocks the gate to paradise.[5] In German it goes: Heut schleusst er wieder auf die Tür zum schönen Paradeis. Der Cherub steht nicht mehr dafür. Gott sei Lob, Ehr, und Preis!  Today God has reopened the gate to Paradise. The angel with the fiery sword no longer bars our way; to God let our praises rise!

So through the open gates of Paradise we can go back to the beginning of time, when creation is fresh and new and become the new Adams and Eves in the very garden of delights, which is what the Garden of Eden means, that, however, by becoming christs one to another, which means lovingly giving up our lives for one another. Thus we have a new garden, but also a new city of Jerusalem – a new garden in a city and a new city in a garden, in which the children of God inherit all God’s divine possessions together.

It’s not crazy to believe these things, which it certainly seems to be for a hard-nosed realist. But it is not crazy when in faith we receive this kind of time out of God’s hand and we later reflect on the wonderful time that God has given us and realize that it is not at all a story, but the amazing story of what God has done in our own very lives.

Now I have to admit that all these wonderful experiences that God gives us were not without much suffering. But that suffering only gave to our lives a deeper and richer quality of love and the story then all adds to the music of our witness.

After Simeon’s great prophesy, “Now I can depart in Peace,” the Nunc demittis, he tells Mary that this Christ-child will be a sign opposed for the rising and falling of many and make it so that the inner thoughts of many become revealed. I know that this really means that the first will be last and the last first in terms of Christ’s divine dominion as opposed to earthly ones. But when we have received Christ into our hearts, when God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts and like Christ we too call our dear Father God, Abba, then the rising we do in faith is again through being first born to royalty to priesthood and Christhood up into God and the falling proceeds through love all the way back down these levels until we are below and ready to serve the least of these. The ascent in faith merely provides the strength for any descent in love. Perhaps that is why we speak of “falling in love.”[6]

When we have received Christ, when we have been born by the water and the Spirit, then our inner thoughts that are revealed will be wonderful, will be beautiful. And not only our thoughts, but our Christhood will be revealed, because as St. Paul says in Romans chapter eight, the whole creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God (Rom 8:19).

We all first oppose Christ. But when our new birth in Christ takes place, then we will unfold, develop, and grow, as the Scriptures say about the Christ child: we too will become strong, filled by wisdom, because of the favor of God upon us (Luke 2:40).

That the story of Christ should become our story, because the love of God makes Christ exchange places with us – should fill us with amazement. Eye has not seen or ear heard, nor could a heart possibly imagine the marvelous things that the Lord has prepared for those who love him and are called to God’s purposes (cf. 1 Cor 2:9).

We are somewhat like Mary and Joseph coming in their poverty to offer two turtle dove or young pigeons, not realizing that with them they have the very Lamb of God. And Simeon and Anna’s eyes of faith could see that they held the Lamb of God who would take way the sin of the world – and they did not even realize it.

When we start seeing with our eyes of faith then the prophesy of Isaiah will also open up to us: we too will greatly rejoice in God and our whole being will exult in our God, for like a bride and groom we will realize that we are dressed by God for a wedding feast in garments of grace, a suit of salvation, and covered in a robes of righteousness. The gifts of the Holy Spirit will sparkle like diamonds and our souls will shine like gems and jewels. Justice will overflow and spread over the earth like growing vegetation: trees, grass, flowers and fruit for all the nations of the earth; because Christ is the vindication of Zion. Christ is the burning torch lifted up to light the new city of Jerusalem.

The nations will see the King of Glory and we shall all be given a new name, which will be the surname, Christ. This name will come to us from the mouth of God and we will all be the children of God. Because of Jesus Christ we will be crowns of beauty in the hand of God, because Christ the Lord is the royal diadem and the right hand of God.[7] Believing becomes seeing as God makes all things new for a truly blessed and Happy New Year. Amen.


[1] To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

[2] The verse here is the fourth: Christ undertakes a great exchange/ Puts on our human frame/ And in return gives us his realm/ his glory and his name/ his glory and his name.

[3] Verse 5: Christ is a servant, I a lord/ How great a mystery!/ How strong the tender Christchild’s love!/ No truer friend than He/ No truer friend than He.

[4] I am referring to what I call the existential rapture in Martin Luther’s “Freedom of the Christian” (1520).

See my Notes on another reading of this Luther pamphlet: http://www.scholardarity.com/?page_id=448/

[5] Verse 6: Christ is the key, and he the door/ To blessed Paradise;/ The angel bars the way no more/ To God our praises rise/ To God our praises rise.

[6] The ascent in faith tends to lift up my self-esteem, when it has become beaten down.

[7] Compare the last two paragraphs with the Isaiah text 61:10-62:3.