Sermon January 3 2020

For the “Blessing Track” please enjoy this toe-tappin’ rendition of ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’ played by the SJA Praise Band… https://youtu.be/Ua78bCx7C30

When God speaks about you, He says…

All our readings for today point out to new beginnings. In Jeremiah 31, the prophet announces a promised new beginning for Israel.  In returning to their homeland, the Israelites would see their mourning turned into joy as they celebrated God bringing them back to a land of plenty.

The New Testament points to the eternity before the beginning of time, when God “chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world … destined to be adopted as God’s his children through Jesus Christ.”

And in Matthew we read about the fulfillment of the promise of a new season of salvation and healing under de promised leadership of the Good Shepherd of the flock.

And, certainly, just a couple of days ago we began this, the Year of our Lord 2021, as a fresh new year filled with possibilities and challenges, sorrows and joys but, at any rate, offering us new opportunities.

As in many new beginnings, one may feel a little cautious or optimistic.  Others may refuse to think about what may lay ahead, and even others, based either on their experience or what they are told by the talking boxes, may look ahead and see nothing more than doom and gloom.

Right at this new beginning, let me offer you the good news of another alternative.  That is, to look at the year ahead from God’s vantage point, to the beginning of all beginnings when long before the universe was spoken into existence, God, out of love, chose us to be like Jesus Christ, his beloved children, (Ephesians 1:3-4).

But there is more.  St Paul tells us that, praised be God, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.  This is how God looks at the days, the year and, indeed, the eternity ahead of us.  Chosen to be like Jesus, to be not only “part” of God’s inner circle, but to be God’s inners circle, beloved in and with The Beloved.

As you look ahead to the new year, I invite you to consider this.  First, know that God not only is aware of you, but He knows you by name, and that in love He chose you to a child of his own love.

And, as the Good Father that God is, I can imagine God going all around heaven showing your picture to all the spiritual powers in the heavenly realm, and proudly saying, “This is my daughter, this is my son!”  For, it is interesting to note, in the original language of the Scripture we learn that God is “eulogizing” us, (translated as blessing) with “every good word.”

This is how God is looking not only at the year ahead but looking from his eternal vantage point to the eternity ahead, until the end of time.

Yes, like Jesus, we may have to face the setbacks and the rain on the parade of our daily lives.  But, nevertheless, we should recall that no matter what, God is always ready to speak well about us in the heavenly realms, easing our burdens and opening the doors that so many times appear firmly closed.  Not because we scored points for the Kingdom, but because He loved us first.

As you begin to crank up for the year ahead, please do remember that your Heavenly Father is looking out for you – for as certain as the daily freshness of God’s mercies are abundant, so His faithful love will never end.

Let me end with these words from today’s reading (Ephesians 1:15-19) and let them be my prayer and wishes for you at the beginning of this new year,

“Ever since I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you.  I remember you in my prayers and ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you the Spirit, who will make you wise and reveal God to you, so that you will know him.  I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, and how very great is his power at work in us who believe.”

Amen.

Fr. Gustavo,
The Rev. T. G. Mansella, Vicar
St. David’s Church
PO Box 125
11291 West River Road
Aylett, VA 23009-0125
+1 804 496 1002
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