Sunday, December 28, 2008

First Sunday of Christmas

Today's Link
My Kinda Humor

Saying For the Day
When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind. ~Seneca

Picture of the Day

In the liturgical churches this is the First Sunday of Christmas. Christmas is not just a day but a season that lasts from December 25 until January 5 and this is the first Sunday of that season.
The Gospel text for this Sunday is Luke 2”22-40. It is the story of a baby and two old people. It is a story of the difference between living the faith and making a living from the faith.
Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus to the temple to be consecrated. They were supposed to do that. It was biblical law.
Jerusalem was the theological center of Judaism. The rabbis, priests, teachers, professional leaders all came here. One would have expected one of them to see the child Jesus and shout out “Behold the Messiah”. After all they talked about the Messiah , a lot. They made sacrifices that pointed to his coming. They taught the texts that refereed to Him. Surely they would recognize Him. But it’s clear from the text they didn’t.
Who Did?
Two old people did. One was named Simeon and one was named Anna. They saw the child and they proclaimed him as the Messiah. How did they differ from the Priests, Rabbi’s , scholars ? The Messiah was not how they made their living, the coming Messiah was their life.
Today we would call them fanatics. They were you know. Simeon believed he would not die until he saw the Messiah. He came everyday to the temple watching for Him. Anna spent all her time in the temple worshiping and praying. They were fanatics.
But they saw Jesus as the Messiah. They saw the wonder of what God had done. Then they proclaimed it. They didn’t do it to upset anybody though it probably did. They didn’t do it to make anybody feel guilty but it probably did. They did it because they had to. They had seen the Messiah.
In my ministry I met a lot of Simeons and Annas. They had names like Nila, Agnes, Margaret, Pauline, Lud, Wayne, Richard. They talked about Jesus because they had to. They had met the Messiah.
I learned why God choose Anna and Simeon for that early proclamation. People don’t listen to the professional. They expect him or her to talk about Jesus. That’s what he gets paid for. But the Annas and the Simeons they witness because they have seen the Messiah. Over the years I learned a lot from them
Now I’m a professional no longer. I don’t get paid to talk about Jesus. Now I’m just old John and I have seen the Messiah and I have to proclaim it. I have to tell you of the joy and the wonder that Jesus gives.
I don’t do it to say I am better than you if you don’t believe. I don’t do it to say my religion is better than yours. I don’t do it to make you feel guilty.
But I have seen the Messiah and I have no choice but to proclaim it.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Tommy UK is on a new crusade. He wants to save the whale. He is afraid that if the Lake of the Loons freezes up altogether as it has some years the whale won’t be able to come up for air. This year , despite global warming, has been colder than ever and the lake is already three fourths frozen Tommy UK since he rode on the tail of the whale to Canada feels a real attachment to the creature. He can not stand the thought of it dying for lack of air. So today, over coffee, he is going to try to get some men from Last Lutheran to assist him in putting in a bubbler that will keep an area of the lake open. He has done some reading and he is sure that this would work.
Herman is ushering at Last Lutheran this morning. That will surprise a few people. They never expected to see him in church let alone ushering.
Nancy and Tommy TW are at Marquette Mountain and hit the slopes early this morning. She feels bad about skipping Church but there will be a service in the lounge this evening put on by one of the local Lutheran Churches and she intends to go to that. Tommy TW says he’d rather spend the time in the hot tub and probably will.
Mrs. Amanda Pemberthy will be worshipping at the Methodist Church this morning as she does every Sunday. But as usual she is not happy with the Pastor. She wasn’t happy with the last six pastors. It is almost time for her letter to the Regional Superintendent telling all that’s wrong with this one. The superintendent’s office has a file folder filled with her letters. She always threatens to quit and join the Lutherans if something isn’t done. But despite the earnest prayers of the Superintendent she has never carried out her threat.

Wrap UP
We went to Church this morning. The bell choir played during the service. Pastor Steve's grand kids were in Church and became part of the Children's sermon. Pastor Steve's main sermon was on Simeon and Anna. The fellowship afterward was great. I spent the afternoon redoing the St. Mark's website so it would load faster. All of the pictures have been moved off of the first page. Then I did some reading. Pennie and Betty watched the Packer Game. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Sue said...

It looks like you have as much snow as the UP.

I always love to stop for the Sunday posting. Thank you

4:29 AM  
Blogger Hilary said...

Lovely photo. It's been pretty warm here the last couple of days and our snow is melting rapidly.

5:21 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

We haven't seen snow like that in 16 years. My twins were only 3 the last time we had snow like that! THAT kind of snow is FUN - once every maybe 5 years! I guess we're overdue.

Loved your sermon this morning Pastor. I would certainly agree you're no longer PAID... but I think you remain a professional... and I'm glad! I wish I could have seen THAT Baby! I wish I could have HELD that Baby! I wish I could have snuggled Him and kissed His little toes... and nose... and cheeks.

I probably won't get to HEAR Pastor Paul's sermon this morning... I'll be in the nursery tending the wee ones. We have it televised in there -- but chances are I won't HEAR it. *sigh*

I think that bubbler is a fabulous idea! OR ... failing that, could we get the dragons to heat it up a bit? (NOT enough to cook the whale please...)

6:21 AM  
Blogger Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Good morning, Dr. John,
Your snow is beautiful. We have no snow, just a heavy frost this morning. Yesterday, it was 70 degrees, this morning it's 28! Arkansas!! If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes; it will change!

I laughed about your description of Mrs. Amanda Pemberthy. Our local Episcopal church used to have a member similar to her. I'm sure the Diocesan office had a folder full of her complaints, too.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Lu' said...

Hope your Holiday was pleasant. Happy New Year.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

Nice sermon... and greatly appreciated. God always uses the least expected person to spread the word. Amen.

When we had a new preacher, we had several of those women like Mrs.Pemberthy and it nearly destroyed our little church. Fair weather chriatians returned when the new pastor came. We don't worship the pastor, but God. Please forgive me for talking bad about these people. I hate the politics in church and don't understand it at all.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Living on the Spit said...

I just love to stop by especially on Sundays for such a wonderful sermon. I really like the scripture references that you include. Can we start a Sunday School Class? That would be great as I am learning more about my relationship with Jesus through you more than I have with anyone else. Just a thought, but I do love the Sunday Sermons. They really do mean a lot to me. If not a Sunday School class, then maybe you could assign some reading prior to the next Sunday's sermon.

I am glad that Herman is ushering...he is stepping out and professing his faith. I know it makes him feel better and more assured.

Love ya, Dr. John


7:18 AM  
Blogger The Old Fart said...

Beautiful Dr John ~ Amen

A Blessed Day is wished for you and Betty and family.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

I have seen the Messiah. And once you've seen him, you can't be quiet about it, and you can't NOT believe.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Akelamalu said...

Nice sermon Dr. John.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Ditto what Quilly said. I remember when I had not seen, and wonder now how that ever could have been. Guess that's where the line, "was blind but now I see" comes from in the song Amazing Grace...
I really loved this post/sermon.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

So Hermann saved the town.

Was watching White Christmas the other night. When Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye arrive in Vermont, it was so warm there was no snow. Wasnt that back in the late 40's early 50's? Was it global warming, or just the natural cycles of weather?

6:43 PM  
Blogger PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Until I read your blog, I forgot that I didn't go to church today. Why not, well, we were away with family, in a motel, that with a shut-in family member, then the long drive home. But I loved reading about the text in your blog. This is the Anna I named my daughter after. My Anna will finally be ordained in February. It has been a long journey for her, from starting a form of ministry at age 17, to preaching in a park a few years later, to leading youth retreats during college, to seminary, graduation, then another seminary, then an internship, then waiting, waiting, for a mystery reason, but now, tonight she called saying she got the "call." So the journey continues.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Gattina said...

Interesting for me ! I had completely forgotten those two !
We have a completely different relationship to the church in this country. As it is catholic to 100 % there is a lack of priests, nobody wants to become a priest anymore because he can't marry. Then the church is so oldfashioned that people don't go anymore or twice a year, Easter and Christmas. We help people in other associations which have nothing to do with religion. When I started reading American blogs I was surprised that the church and religion have so much influence on the people and even in politics, which shouldn't be.

10:07 PM  

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