Happy New Year!
This being the first Sunday of the month we will be celebrating communion this week, with a sung communion prayer.
The Scripture Reading this week is Matthew 2:1-23
The Sermon title is The Refugee King
Early Thoughts: How might it happen today?
A child is born, who will turn the world upside-down. People seeking to visit and honour the child inadvertently alert the authorities to his existence. The authorities then seek to get rid of the threat, forcing the child's family to make a hasty retreat into exile.
Seems probable. In fact I would guess that similar things (likely involving politically active adults rather than young children) happen on a regular basis around the globe, both in democratic and non-democratic countries. People who are deemed a threat to the established order are driven out or underground or just simply "disappeared".
Can we accept a refugee king and saviour?
Amidst the carols and the pageants and the cuteness of Christmas we miss something. Christmas, the Christ story in general, is revolutionary. In both Matthew and Luke there is, if we stop to look, the signs of the revolution. In both Matthew and Luke there are, if we care to notice, signs of the shadow that looms over the whole story.
Early in Advent I mentioned that Jesus is born into the world "just as it is". But here is the other side. Jesus is born to change the world. Jesus is born to herald the coming of the Kingdom of God. And for the Kingdom of God to burst into existence some people are going to lose, and lose a lot.
Which is why we have a refugee king and saviour.
Which is why we have the slaughter of the innocents.
Which is why there are tears mixed in with the glory of Christmas.
Herod was threatened and struck back. And since he had no specific target (no laser guided bomb would help him here) he cast a wider net. He did what those with power have done and continue to do throughout the ages.
Where would we stand now? Would we wait while the soldiers rampage through the city? Would we have to be on the run? Would we accept the refugee "troublemaker" into our midst?
We have no way of knowing if the specific story told by Matthew in today's reading ever happened in history. But we do know that similar things have happened and continue to happen. What do we do about it?
Where is the refugee in our vision of the Kingdom?