Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Homily for Wednesday of Populus Zion–The Second Week of Advent


Isaiah 49:1-13; Isaiah 43:1-7; Malachi 4:1-6

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Only God can bring something out of nothing, and He so delights in doing just that! In contrast, when men create, we begin with something that already exists: clay, ore, wood, sperm and egg. But, when God creates, He begins with nothing – indeed, He, Himself, is the beginning and the source of all things. His Word brings into being what it says so that “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”

In the beginning, God – period. God spoke, and there was: light, planets, land, plants, animals. But then, God began to work a little differently. God made man, not by speaking, but with His own hands, formed out of the earth that He had already made. He made a dirt man, Adam, and then He breathed His own spirit, His own life into the man, and the man became a living being. He was a personal creature, created by a personal Creator, made in the image of His Creator, having the capacity, with the Lord’s blessing and at His command, to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

But, almost from the beginning, man rebelled against his Creator. He refused to obey His commands, eating what He was forbidden to eat, staying in one place in order to make a name for himself rather than dispersing and filling the earth. Does the pot do its own bidding and not the bidding of the potter? Of course not. Yet man, God’s creation, continually follows his own will and rejects His Creator. Surely, the potter would smash such a pot and begin anew. But God does not destroy His creation, rather He enacts a plan of restoration for His creation, which He created for His own glory.

And so, once again the Spirit of God hovered over the waters, and the Word of God was spoken into the virgin soil, this time, of a young Hebrew woman’s womb. And, “the Word became flesh and made His dwelling amongst us.” And He was hidden as a polished arrow in a hunter’s quiver until the time was right. But, before the Word made flesh began His dwelling amongst us, He was known in type in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then in Joseph and Moses and the children of Israel, and in many other persons, figures, and deeds. And, after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, until the time of His second advent, He is known in the Christian Church, His body and Bride.

God continues to work through the stuff of His creation, through matter and means, to work His salvation. Once He plunged His hands into the soil and made man and communed with His spirit, God made a covenant with man that He would not leave Him or forsake Him. He would not merely proclaim man clean and righteous by speaking His Word into the nothing, but it was necessary to make man to be righteous by becoming a man, of the substance of a woman, like all men. Thus, He did not send Jesus as a great moral teacher to instruct us how to live a morally righteous life, but He sent Jesus to redeem us from sin and death, to be obedient to God the Father in the flesh, and to suffer and die in substitution for men in the flesh.

Yet, the greatest mystery of all is that God had a plan of redemption before there was a man to redeem. Thus, when the prophets of the Lord prophecy, they speak a Word of the Lord for the present, and for the past, and for the future. The prophets are but mouthpieces for the Word that has gone forth from the Lord and will not return to Him void, but will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. His Word is for the whole world, for all that He has made, and it comes to us through the stuff that He has made: Words uttered by men, flesh and blood, water, oil, bread, and wine. In the incarnation, when His Word became flesh, He began to redeem His creation from the inside out. He leads His captive people to the land of promise in exodus out of this world through death into life eternal in communion with Himself. Thus He promises you, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

Though the way at times may be dark, dangerous, and uncertain, you need not fear, your God is with you. He has always been with you, though He may be hidden, He is as a polished arrow hidden away in a hunter’s quiver. At the appointed times He has arisen in power and might to deliver His people. He has come. He comes. And, He is coming. Soon, the Son of Righteousness shall rise with healing in His wings. Watch and wait in hopeful expectation, for your redemption is drawing near.

In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.

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