“Adoption, Inheritance, and Living for the Praise of His Glory”

4 January 2015 – Eleventh Day of Christmas

Matthew 2 and Ephesians 1:3-14

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, pastor

East Rochester & West Walworth: Zion United Methodist Churches

ToddGoddard@gmail.com

 

Ephesians 1:3-14   http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=287193898

Matthew 2:1-12   http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=287194156

John 1:10-18 

 

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

 

(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

 

Prayer.

 

Wise men approached from the East;

Men who spent their lives

Seeking answers to eternal questions

By gazing intensely into the night sky,

Waiting for some deeper Epiphany or

Divine insight into the mysteries of existence.

 

Wise men approached from the East;

Men who were not of our tribe,

Yet, recognized keepers of wisdom

And respected leaders in their own community

Coming from a distant, foreign land.

 

Wise men approached from the East;

Each knowing deeply and secretly

The fear of being exposed,

Exhaustion from loneliness,

Aware of cracks in self-confidence,

The futility of the treadmill of it all.

Beneath their fine jewelry and exquisite clothing,

Hid, like the rest of us,

The soot of the human condition,

Naked questions of mortality, brokenness, and fraility.

 

Wise men approached from the East,

Following a shooting star

Knowing that what lay at the destination

Was far more desirable

Than what was being left behind.

Faith came from moving forward,

Leaving in the past brutal imperfections and applications of Law.

Sin and death rang like an ice cold hammer and anvil;

Judgment, firm and final.

Yesterday’s darkness

Chased away by the new found Light;

The Son of God wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Adoption was their destination;

Their emotional orphanage a quickly fading

Lost memory.

 

What awaited the wise men from the East,

God incarnate

Enveloped in the love of a newly delivered mother,

Was adoption.

 

Like wise men from the East,

We, too, seek

Adoption,

Our spiritual home.

 

Adoption

Means inclusion

Acceptance into the Holy Family

By a Heavenly Father who intends to flood his children

With grace upon grace,

With love so undeserving it is truly unfathomable,

With forgiveness so deep it is unimaginable,

With salvation so complete it is unescapable.

 

Adoption

As a child of God

Makes the Son of God our older brother,

The one we look up to,

The one we follow,

The Spirit of One who fills our every breath,

The one we couldn’t live without.

 

Adoption

Means we recognize and accept the destiny God has planned for us.

Before the foundations of the world,

God destined us for adoption as His children.

This is the teaching of

The Apostle Paul for the church in Ephesus.

Swimming in the riches of His grace,

We are gathered up with Christ,

With all things heaven and earth,

Being cleansed of all that has been

And welcomed into all

That God assures us

Will yet to be revealed.

 

Adoption

By the same Creator who drew the

Wise men from the East with a heavenly star

Means being written into the will,

Receiving a Divine inheritance

That demands the best stewardship we can muster;

Exquisite stewardship

That is taught

And passed

To the next generation that follows.

 

Inheritance;

Unexpected, surprising, overwhelming.

Inheritance

Waited for the wise men from the east,

And remain for each of us to claim

Two thousand years later.

The mysteries of His will revealed

And our unmasked, pure joy

Brings satisfaction to the Master Architect.

 

Inheritance

Fulfills the deeper human desire

When our gaze turns heavenly.

Like the men from the East

Christ completes the hope

Sought after

When we absorb the endless stars

And drink in the completeness of the cosmos.

 

Inheritance at the hand of Christ;

By his suffering and his blood

Replaces Law

With Grace and Truth,

Dropping scales from eyes

Revealing God’s only Son

For all humanity.

 

 

Inheritance

Drops our chains,

Releasing

Our ability to live in joy,

To dance in praise,

To lift our voices with thanksgiving.

Inheritance

Is scripture proclaimed,

Not as a Last Will and Testament,

Rather,

As the Promise Fulfilled,

The soiled cleansed,

The fearful freed,

Redemption and salvation

To our tribe

And to each

Sealed by the Holy Spirit.

 

“… and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” (Matthew 2:9b-10)

Like our spiritual ancestors from the East,

We, too, are overwhelmed with joy.

Grace is more unbelievable

Than any earthly prize.

We, too, kneel before the Christ child

Because our knees will no longer hold us,

When we claim our inheritance

And our hope is fulfilled.

 

Dearly beloved,

Come to the Table with joy!

Our God

Has claimed us!

His Son

Died for our sins!

The gift of unending Love

Defeated death

And has become our salvation!

Come,

Let us taste and see

The salvation of our Lord.

Amen.