Monday, December 23, 2013

Bethany Bullet - December 23, 2013

Notes from last week’s generous life based on Luke 2

“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 there 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 Savior 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.”  Luke 2:8-15

#I’mNoAngel as if there was any doubt. Yet, my traveling companions will attest that was the assertion of a certain airline security guard.  Standing in line, wearing my Angel jersey awaiting screening, the agent who would inspect me looked the jersey over, proudly and loudly proclaimed, “You’re no angel.” Obvious enough; in fact if I were I would have flown direct.  Lucky for him as well (I suppose) as we recall what happened in Sodom when folk started pawing at the angels…but I digress.

True, I’m no angel and it is fairly easy to recognize that!  Just as easy as it is to recognize when you’ve been visited by one; the shepherds realized immediately what they were seeing and who it was they were hearing.  

Which confirms all the more that I’m not an angel, listen to the text again starting with vs.10, “the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.”  How did the shepherds greet these good tidings, vs.15 says they said, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”  HOLD IT THERE, let’s hit rewind, ‘Which the LORD has made known.’

I’m no angel obviously.  If I were, you know what verse 16 would have sounded like? “Just as suddenly as they had left the angels returned and said, excuse me? Wait just a minute there shepherd boys. We’re thrilled you’re going to Bethlehem that was the hope, prayer and plan when we came to share this news, let me say that again, when we came; look around sheep watchers, WE came to share this news.  What is this that the LORD has made known to us?”

That is not how the text reads because - I’m no angel and no angels are like me. Unlike mine, theirs is the picture of a generous life.  A life that gives and is not looking for credit but rather praying for accomplishment; such is given from the joy of being called to give and from delight in the opportunity.

We are no angels as too often we begin counting, tabulating, bragging or comparing; we have fallen from generous giver to credit seeker. 

V  When like the angels…we give not seeking personal recognition but praying for God’s action,
V  When like the angels…our generosity wells up in what is almost a song sung out of the joy of being called to give,
V  When like the angels…we find in our living a delight in being afforded such a humbling opportunity as to give, and,
V  When like the angels…ours will be a generous life and “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” is what will be heard when others respond to our generosity with the words, “LOOK what the LORD has done for us!”  Amen!

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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