Sermon for the First Sunday after the Epiphany, January 7 2018

Sermon for the First Sunday after the Epiphany
January 7, 2017, Year B
The Rev. Evelyn Wheeler, Rector

Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11

Did you read that psalm?  I mean, really read it?

Some psalms should we whispered; some sung; this one, though, this one, should be shouted from the rooftops!  It’s all about the power and the might of God in creation – and so much more.

It’s about rejoicing, and dance, and it’s about earthquakes and fires – which, frankly, generally scare us, as they should.  Bert could tell us about the impact of fires in the west this year.  And folks in Mexico and Japan – and a lot of other places – can tell us about earthquakes. 

They can’t be dismissed, and they can’t be ignored.

And here they are in this psalm – a psalm of praise for the power of God, a psalm of joy and wonder and awe and thanksgiving.

Who’d have thought it?

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory THUNDERS…  The voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor.  The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees.  The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire; the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the forest bare … and in the temple of the Lord, all are crying GLORY!

I don’t know about you, but I find this pretty impressive.

But why all the rejoicing?  “The Lord shall give strength to his people; the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.”

How can they speak of peace, when the mountains are shaking and the cedars breaking and the flames of fire splitting?

It seem counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

Or does it? 

A powerful ally provides comfort.  And seeing the power of the ally arrayed against the powers of earth provides reason for rejoicing, at least in part because that power, in the “hands” of a faithful God, can defeat any enemy, can save the people, can give God’s people the blessing of peace.  Let’s face it – this actually might be fun!

Think of it as “religious bungee-jumping” – if you’re into such things.

Who wouldn’t cry “Glory!”?

Okay, not me; I don’t fancy the idea of bungee-jumping.  I can’t face a roller-coaster.  I’m sure I have no desire whatsoever to dive off high cliffs into the ocean or jump out of airplanes – even with a parachute.  But I might be persuaded to try hang-gliding, or at least go up in a hot-air balloon.  Slow, controlled, safe danger is more my style.

And it’s not like I haven’t been glued to the weather channel as that nor-easter churned its way up the coast, or been blown away by photos of Niagara Falls all covered in ice.  A full moon on a cold winter night makes me want to cry “Glory!”

How do you suppose John the Baptist felt when he saw Jesus come to be baptized, and saw the heavens torn open and a dove descending, and hearing a voice from heaven say, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”?

Do you think maybe he might have felt like crying “Glory!”?

The one who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit has come; cry Glory!

The one whose laces we are not worthy to untie has come; cry Glory!

When Paul found disciples in Ephesus, who welcomed him and asked about the Holy Spirit, and were baptized by Paul in the name of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied – surely Paul wanted to cry Glory!

And maybe those disciples did, too.

And in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, and God said, let there be light, and there was light – cry Glory!

Moses led the people across the Red Sea – cry Glory!

Persia freed the Babylonian captives – cry Glory!

The prophets learned that God will save – cry Glory!

The messiah is coming – cry Glory!

The messiah has come – cry Glory!

Jesus has died and been raised – cry Glory!

The Holy Spirit has come – cry Glory!

The world has been turned upside down – cry Glory!

The poor are lifted up and the mighty cast down – cry Glory!

The sick are healed and the prisoners freed and death itself is defeated – cry Glory!

Glory is what all these memories and stories are about.  Glory is what our stories are about.  Glory is what God is about.

Cry Glory.  Shout it from the rooftops, sing it in the streets, whisper it to your children: Glory.  Glory.  Glory.

To God be the Glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

  July 2020  
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