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Fourth Sunday in Advent (cycle b)



Prayer based on all Lections
by Rev. F. Schaefer

God of Grace and Surprise, today we embrace the announcement of the incarnation of your only begotten Son. We stand in awe and wonder of your plan of salvation which confounds the wisdom of this world. Thank you for fulfilling your promise given by the prophets of old--the sign of reconciliation in and through Jesus, our Lord. 

Help us to recognize the incarnation of your grace especially with those who suffer, those who are impoverished and victimized.  Enable us to stand in solidarity with the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the world will see in us the good news of Emmanuel, God-with-us, in whose very name we pray. Amen.



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Sermon Excerpt:

I’m the Mother of God!”
based on Luke 1:26-38
by Rev. Frank Schaefer

I chose the sermon title “I’m the Mother of God!” because it is an outrageous statement. In fact, making a statement like this in today's world could easily get you in the nuthouse.

Luke most likely heard the story of the annunciation from Mary herself (Mary is identified as one of the witnesses Luke had interviewed for the writing of his gospel). It is her “calling story” as we preacher-folk would name it.

As outrageous as we would think a statement like this would be in today's world, as outrageous it must have been back then.

We have this sense about the New Testament era that everything was different. We idealize it in our minds; to us it was the time of miracles, a time when God really did talk with people, when angels delivered messages and when the world was still O.K. Gimme that ole time religion!

Realistically speaking, however, the New Testament times were not so different from our times. When Mary had the encounter with Gabriel it was just as hard for people to believe her story as it would be today. That's why Joseph decided to leave Mary until he had an angelic encounter himself.

So here is Mary, Mary quite contrary telling everyone that she is pregnant, not because she slept with a guy, but because by the Holy Spirit of God she conceived a child within her. And that child was no other than the Messiah himself—the Savior of the whole world.

I have to admit, if a person were to actually try to cover up an infidelity, they would probably not come up with a story like this. ...

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