Sermon for Year B, Holy Name
By The Rev. Torey Lightcap
Saint Thomas Episcopal Church
January 1, 2012
This morning is about what is new.
It’s about the chance to approach the altar of God still wearing the garland
Of entrance into the year 2012,
And to make an offering appropriate to the day –
To the morning of the day, the beginning of the day, the first day.
You might be here asking, How will I live this year? What will I do?
Frame your intent this morning.
The following words are recorded in Isaiah chapter 43:
“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing [says the Lord];
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
God clears a path and makes the impossible possible,
And that should direct all our attention to looking ahead, right in front of us,
Where it’s going to happen.
How will I live this year in the present, the here-and-now, and in the future,
So that I am not burdened by the past?
Or again, as it’s written in Lamentations 3,
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.”
God’s radical and redeeming love, manifest in the Christ child whom we acclaim,
Is not only never-ending …
It is ever-beginning.
It stirs in a baby asleep in a stone manger:
A baby who has just survived the slaughter of thousands of baby boys
Directed by someone who wanted to get rid of this one baby:
A baby who is about to be picked up and carried to Egypt,
So deep and direct and restless is the threat on his life.
Love, always on the run; always starting over; always given to newness.
How might you live this year out of the well of that truth?
Or again, from almost the very end of Scripture, Revelation 21,
God’s enduring promise, “Behold, I make all things new.”
The God of possibility and enduring love and creation
Does not show partiality;
In the economy of God, everything gets made over;
Everything is subjected to re-creation.
How might we live out of the depths of that promise?
Very often at this time of year,
We resolve that we will do this or that – something specific like losing weight,
Or perhaps something hazy, like being nicer to people.
We make promises to ourselves,
And sometimes to others, and sometimes to God, that are hard to keep
Because they are built on the vague notion
That for some reason, we’d ought to work at making ourselves better.
I urge you this morning to hear the promises of God –
God’s resolutions for how God specifically loves us –
Promises God has kept –
Not merely the fact of them, but what’s at the heart of them.
God is concrete and specific: a child now, living in a tangible place
And in a time in history that we can point out and measure.
God does not discriminate: all things are made new.
God directs our attention forward, not behind –
To what is now, and to what will be.
These are God’s New Year’s resolutions to us brought from Scripture,
And they beg our response.
How shall we live according to the measure of the promise?
How shall I return this love concretely, indiscriminately,
In this very moment and in the future?
Blessed be the name of God. Amen.