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Isaiah

Highlighted Text: Isaiah 9:2-7

Summary of the Text

What is God’s essence? God’s primary motivation, desire, and purpose? What is God’s heart?

God’s heart is a heart of peace.

God could have chosen to stay distant – holy yet detached or absent. Instead, God chose to come, to be made flesh.

God could have come as a king- triumphant, affluent, imperial. God could have come as a warrior- laying waste to all enemies.

Instead, Jesus says, “Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” —John 14.27

God could have come as a king or a warrior or some other expression of earthly power. Instead, God comes as a baby. Beautiful, frail, fresh, innocent, the embodiment of peace. Christ’s rule is rooted in vulnerability. His conquest comes forth in love. 

God came as baby, a child born for us, a son given to us, so we would remember God is near and God is good.

God came as a baby to remind us all people are made in the image of God. Every person you will ever see, every person who will ever be. Even you. Remembering this, our most sacred and common bond, our heart of war is conquered, and a heart of peace is born.  

God came as a baby in a time of great division, prejudice, and poverty, to a people bearing the yoke of burdens and the rod of Roman oppression. God not only sees the destructive choices, the destructive systems, the destructive words, and the fear and shame that drives them, God experiences them in Jesus.

God comes as one of us and one with us. God’s heart of peace is a heart of solidarity. When we seek the solidarity of Christ, dividing walls are broken down. Bridges of justice and right relationship are established and upheld.

God came as a baby then and God comes for us now. Our Prince of Peace comes whether we are joyful and celebrating. Whether we are angry and heartbroken. Whether we are seeking or apathetic or hiding. God comes. Our Prince of Peace comes.

We see glimpses of God’s heart at work around us now – in the work of justice and righteousness and peace. We open our hearts and our hands and join that saving work. We persevere in that work, looking forward with hope to the fullness of peace that is coming.

Will you claim his coming? Will you claim the heart of God as your own?

Lisa Degrenia

Lisa Degrenia is an ordained pastor currently serving Coronador Community United Methodist Church. Lisa studied at the University of South Florida and received her Masters of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. She’s served congregations in Largo, St. Petersburg, DeBary, and Sarasota. 

 

In addition to serving as a pastor, Lisa enjoys leading retreats, photography, theatre, travel, and writing. She is indebted to the many wonderful mentors and teachers in her life, including her mother who first gave her a love for words.

Lisa met her beloved husband Ed on a trip to NYC and they were married ten months later. They are blessed with two grown daughters, two sons-in-love, one new grandchild, and two dogs. You can find more of her work at https://revlisad.com/

Sermon Resources

Key Quotes

Shalom, a Hebrew word for peace, means restoration of right relationships and a sense of well-being and serenity. When Jesus spoke words of shalom to those who were disenfranchised and disinherited by their society and religious community, it was far more than an everyday greeting. Jesus was bestowing on them a very real spiritual blessing and the restoration of right relationships. Shelem, a Hebrew word for physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness, includes a person’s bodily health and well-being. 

Shalom and Shelem can never be experienced separately. Peace, right relations, wholeness, and health are intertwined. They do not exist for one person or one institution if they do not exist also for the benefit of all. No one stands upright as long as others remain bent over.

Helen Bruch Pearson, Do What You Have the Power to Do

Key Illustration

He did not wait till the world was ready,

till men and nations were at peace.

He came when the Heavens were unsteady,

and prisoners cried out for release.

 

He did not wait for the perfect time.

He came when the need was deep and great.

He dined with sinners in all their grime,

turned water into wine.

 

He did not wait till hearts were pure.

In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.

To a world like ours, of anguished shame

he came, and his Light would not go out.

 

He came to a world which did not mesh,

to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.

In the mystery of the Word made Flesh

the Maker of the stars was born.

 

We cannot wait till the world is sane

to raise our songs with joyful voice,

for to share our grief, to touch our pain,

He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

First Coming by Madeleine L’Engle

 

Additional Sermon Resources