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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Dealing with a miracle of God

Christmas II Sermon Summary 2015 presented by Fr Matthew Kirby
 
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2:7-20)
"the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God"
 
They returned. Went back to their lives, their work, their shepherding. Did not become apostles, rabbis or prophets.
 
But they were not shy about telling others of the wonderful things they had experienced of God, as we are told in today's Gospel. And they carried the joy of those wonders (angelic visitation followed by the sight of the new born Christ-child) with them in grateful memory, back into their normality.
 
They did not abandon their flocks or try to hang around the Holy Family, clinging to the experience, trying to prolong it or repeat it.
 
Nor did they forget it or dismiss it. Luke knew and wrote of what happened to them and what they afterwards did, and he did so decades later. He may well have heard it from them or those to whom they spoke. The joy remained, the impact was permanent.
 
There is a lesson for us here. Even Christians who experience amazing things in God, spend most of their lives experiencing normality, not miracles. We are not meant to try to prolong artificially those times of the extraordinary in our spiritual walk. Nor are we to seek repetition, or a perpetual series of new excitements. This would be ungrateful and immature.
 
Instead, we must use our memory of the high points to inspire us to praise in the present and joyful witness to God's goodness. That is how we can make the wonderful times food for the journey and perpetual in benefit. God normally works normally. But he also performs signs and specially touches our lives at times. Never forget these, and use them to strengthen yourself in the midst of the hard slog, whether they be your own experiences, or those testified to you by others.
Finally, let others know what God has done for you.

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