Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Year B - Psalm 97

Psalm 97
The God of clouds and thick darkness, consuming fire and mountain melting majesty is born into human flesh in a hamlet in an occupied land to peasant parents. That seems to contradict the images of God hurling lightning bolts and making the earth and seas tremble. Of course God can smack down the wicked and do a number on the heads of those who bow down to little g gods but God chose to be revealed in manger and cross. We might be tempted to elevate one above the other but the faithful response is to hold the two images in tension which, by the way, is a very Lutheran thing to do. God is both weak and all powerful. God demands obedience and forgives unconditionally. God is both above the heavens and as close as our own breath. “He who fills the world lay in a manger, great in the form of God but tiny in the form of a servant; this was in such a way that neither was His greatness diminished by His tininess, nor was His tininess overcome by His greatness.” (St. Augustine, Sermon 187) The light that dawns upon the righteous and makes honest hearts rejoice is that God cannot be contained in any of our constructs and unlike the little g gods, which are easily contained, is more than able to save.

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