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Sermon of the week: A God who follows through
by Fr. Clayton Elder, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
Dec 29, 2013 | 30 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Based upon the Gospel Reading for the First Sunday after Christmas: John 1:1-18

’Twas the morning of Christmas, and all through my house, were screams of delight from kids to spouse. From toys in their hands to the wrapping paper on the floor, from the toys that make noise to the smells from the kitchen door, it was a beautiful Christmas morning.

Then, in an instant, once I glanced at the clock, I jump up and said, “It’s time to Rock!” Rock and Roll to work, I meant, for I was called by God to serve, and His people were being sent…to worship and praise Him for the gift of his Son, through whose birth this day our salvation was won.

All right! OK! I’ll stop the rhyming, …I mean it…. Anybody want a peanut?! :)

You see, it was when I was leaving the house that the story for today really begins.

“Daddy! Daddy! Wait!” my son yelled as I headed out the door, “When will you be home?!”

While this is a common question and ritual for many of us who leave our families for work, I’ve discovered it’s one of the most important things I say and do as a father.

You see, it happened once, as it has I’m sure for everyone, that I promised to be home by a certain time, and then, because of the accumulation of ministry moments, I was late, and I missed one of the most sacred and holy family moments of our day…bedtime. While this was not life shattering, the impact was…for, as my son later said to me… “You promised!”

Our word and our ability to uphold that word are so important and are so transformational in our relationships. While I’ve walked through life trying to be, as my father put it, “a man of my word,” at no time in my life had it been more important—and its implications more felt—than here and now with my son.

However, while this moment, the moment of the asking and telling, is important, it’s only the first half of the equation. The real deal, where the rubber meets the road, is in the action, the follow through. It’s here where the “word” becomes a reality. It’s here where the word changes from the promise of life, to life itself.

For, while my son leaves our conversation satisfied with the answer, he doesn’t feel the effects of that word until I follow through, until I walk through that door, and until he sees the smile on my face, and I feel his arms wrapped around my neck that brings life to us both. Before, it was just a word; now it is real. Before, it was a promise; now it is life.

It is here, in this intersection of word and deed, of promise and life that I believe our life and the words of the gospel of John meet.

You see, the “Word” that existed with God is defined not only by what He is, but more, by what He does. It is through Him that all things came into being and have life, and if you remember from Genesis, God first speaks His Word, then creation is brought to bear and given life through it. The “Word” was life and light, speaking, creating and building a world which He was intimately woven into and desired a relationship with. “Yet,” as the gospel continued, “the world did not know him,” and we fell away, fell astray.

But God promised. He gave us His word to return to us. And then He gave us His Word to redeem us.

“And the word became flesh and lived among us” our gospel says, “and from his fullness (of grace and truth) we have received, grace upon grace.” Or in other words…God’s promise of life, became life, lived among us, and now gives life to all who believe in him.

So, in these days after the hubbub of Christmas, after the clatter and clamor of Santa and all the holiday trappings subside, take a moment to reflect upon the true impact of that Christmas morning 2,000 years ago, and give thanks and praise that we have a God of His word, that we have a God that is Word, and that the Word has lived among us and gives life..new life, eternal life to all who believe. Amen!
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