Sunday, January 03, 2010
Following The Star at Tinney Chapel
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Follow The Star, a post-Christmas sermon by Pastor Sue Gross
Of course, it's only post-Christmas by modern standards, commercial standards, actually. By all that's true and holy, the Christmas Season is still upon us, and Pastor Sue Gross reminded us of that today.
She did so by reading 12 verses of Scripture from the New Testament: Matthew 2:1-12, which records the journey of the wise men, the kings, the priests--take your pick of the interpretations--who came bearing gifts for Jesus, The Christ Child, who was then and remains today our greatest gift from God, His own Son, in human flesh, Incarnate, God With Us, sent to teach, guide and save.
It's still the greatest gift that we can give to others today, reminded Pastor Sue: To tell the age-old story of His wonderful Love, especially to someone who has never heard it, or needs to hear it again with our personal emphasis. One of the ways we can do that, said Pastor Sue, is to love one another, as a more mature Jesus later commanded during His earthly ministry.
After one of today's congregational songs, We Three Kings Of Orient Are, the Pastor suggested that the title of this song actually positions each of us smack dab in the middle of the story--the Greatest Story Ever Told. It positions us in there in part because of our royal dignity, a by-product of being created in God's own image. This is much more than just an honor: It's also a reminder that we need to ask ourselves constantly if we are today following the Star to Bethlehem. Even if the answer is yes, are we doing so for the right reason?
In today's modern society, with travel streamlined mostly to hours, and seldom more than a day, no matter our destination, it's easy for us to minimize the effort, expense, danger and dedication of those three Persian priests who journeyed for months, possibly years, to bring gifts to the Christ Child, whose birth they had seen foretold by a faraway, but far-reaching Star.
These men were not Christians, not even Jews, and their knowledge of this historic event, important as it was, was largely confined to their study of astrology, astronomy and other segments of the cosmos of the ancients. It is unlikely that they were fully aware of the event's historical theology, said Pastor Sue.
The Pastor described how their long-observed Star became an active participant in their journey, actually moving to, and stopping over, the house of the Christ Child.
Everyone in this life has to follow someone, emphasized Pastor Sue, and for Christians, the Star of Jesus is a good one to follow: The Way, the Truth, the Light. Those who don't may wind up in dark alleys or otherwise out of the Way of the Light and not in the Presence of Jesus The Christ with the saving power of His Resurrection.
Today is the first Sunday of the New Year, 2010, reminded the Pastor, who also suggested that we celebrate the unbelievable lives we have already led, even in the face of our personal hardships, some of which have served primarily to strengthen us, to make us more fully aware of the wonderful world of God's Creation that is all around us: fleecy clouds, frost on cotton leaves, green grass of home, stars at night that are big and bright, everyday things that make life worth living and celebrating.
Let's all hereby resolve to share our Christian view of life with others, perform random acts of unexpected kindness, shower others with sincere compliments about their own uniqueness and reflection of the One in whose image they are created, adopt a permanent and expressive attitude of gratitude for all that God has given us and for those He has placed in our lives and in our paths.
Let's all celebrate this past year as our best ever, to be transcended only by what is in store for us in this New Year.