A sermon preached on the Second Sunday after Christmas – the readings for this sermon include: John 1:1-9, The Gospel of Thomas 70; Matthew 2:1-12. You can listen to the sermon here
Two cars were waiting at a stoplight. The light turned green, but the man didn’t notice it. A woman in the car behind him was watching traffic pass around them. The woman began pounding on her steering wheel and yelling at the man to move. The man didn’t move. The woman started to go ballistic inside her car; she ranted and raved at the man, pounding on her steering wheel. The light turned yellow. The woman began to blow her car horn; she flipped off the man, and screamed curses at him. The man, hearing the commotion, looked up, saw the yellow light and accelerated through the intersection just as the light turned red. The woman was beside herself, screaming in frustration because she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she is still in mid-rant she hears a tap on her window and looks up into the barrel of a gun held by a very serious looking policeman. The policeman tells her to shut off her car while keeping both hands in sight. She complies, speechless at what is happening. After she shuts off the engine, the policeman orders her to exit her car with her hands up. She gets out of the car and he orders her to turn and place her hands on her car. She turns, places her hands on the car roof and quickly is cuffed and hustled into the patrol car. She is too bewildered by the chain of events to ask any questions and is driven to the police station where she is fingerprinted, photographed, searched, booked, and placed in a cell.
After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door for her. She is escorted back to the booking desk where the original officer is waiting with her personal effects. He hands her the bag containing her things, and says, “I’m really sorry for this mistake. But you see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping that guy off, and cussing a blue streak at the car in front of you, and then I noticed the “What Would Jesus Do” and “Follow Me to Sunday School” bumper stickers, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally I assumed that you had stolen the car.”
We can scoff at this, but I must tell you that one of the things I had to learn when I first began to wear a clergy collar was that I could no longer give people the finger when I was driving. If you give people the finger when you are driving, it’s not you giving that person the finger but the whole of Christian Church; people will use your outburst to condemn the hypocrisy of the entire church.
During Advent we used a question from Meister Eckhart not once but twice during each of our worship services: “What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to Christ twenty centuries ago and I don’t give birth to Christ in my person and my culture and my times?” And now, in this the last day of Christmas, I find myself wondering what it actually means for Christ to be born in me or in you. Continue reading