Some points from church this morning:
A. Shepherds were marginalized in first century Palestine. They lived and worked outside of towns, so they were not privy to the latest news. They smelled bad because they were around sheep all day and night. Yet, angels appeared to them in Luke 2 to announce the birth of Christ. They became witnesses, telling others about the angelic visitation and the birth of the Messiah. The pastor told a personal story. When he was a child, his mother had a Hannah-complex and thought that she should dedicate one of her children to God. She dedicated the pastor, but, as a child, the pastor did not want to get up in front of everyone and tell people how to live their lives. The joy that he experienced in Christ, however, transformed him, like it did the marginalized shepherds, and he became one who spreads the good news.
B. Herod the Great was insecure. He called himself “the Great.” He was an Edomite, and Edomites had a history of conflict with Israel, as is seen in the Old Testament. He killed some of his wives and children because he saw them as a threat. We, too, are insecure in that there are places in our lives that we hope God does not probe or dig up.
C. God honors the marginalized to show that he is inclusive: he welcomes all to place their faith in him. God’s debasing of the power structure in Israel may have foreshadowed the fall of the Old Covenant, with its institutions of priesthood and cult. With the coming of Christ, it had served its purpose.
Announcement: My work schedule over the next few weeks will be hectic. Consequently, depending on how tired I am after I get home, my Church Write-Ups may have to wait.