First Sunday after Christmas
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Glimpses of God
based on Luke 2:22-40
Rev. Karen A. Goltz
lights have been dimmed, the candles and the lights on the trees in the chancel
area are shining brightly, the sound of the people singing ‘Silent Night’
quietly and reverently washes over you, and as the flame of the tiny white
candle is passed to you and then on to the person sitting next to you, you feel
as though you’ve shared more than just a tiny piece of fire with those around
you. You don’t really understand it, but you feel a deep connection with
everyone in the congregation, with the songs you’ve been singing, with the texts
you’ve been hearing, with the event you’ve been celebrating. All of a sudden
you feel a deep peace, because you feel truly connected with God.
Or maybe it was when you were receiving
communion some Sunday just like any other Sunday. The pastor comes to you,
gives you a little piece of bread, and says, “This is the body of Christ, given
for you.” And then you receive a little cup of wine and you hear the words,
“This is the blood of Christ, shed for you.” And as you eat that bread and
drink that wine you suddenly know—you know, that the body of Christ
was given for you, Christ’s blood was shed for you, and the
intensity of that knowledge is almost overwhelming....
There are thousands, millions of such spiritual
moments. They can happen anywhere, any time, to anyone, no matter how
‘churched’ or ‘unchurched’ they may be. We may not understand what is
happening, and later we may not acknowledge that God had anything to do with it,
but at that time we feel a connection; we feel at peace. We feel holy.
And then life continues and the feelings fade.
We may still remember the event, and we may even remember that the event had a
profound effect on us, but we can’t get those feelings back. All we can do is
remember that we had them, and maybe wonder why.
I like to think of those moments as glimpses of
God’s hiddenness being revealed. I imagine that those brief moments are a
little foretaste of what heaven’s like, only in heaven those feelings never
fade. But in this life, on this earth, we only have very few of those divine
moments to sustain us through our ordinary, everyday lives.
Jesus, Son of God, was born to Mary, an
ordinary human. From the time Mary was told what would happen through the time
of the infant’s presentation in the Temple, I’d say that the glimpses of God’s
hiddenness being revealed were probably pretty numerous...
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