Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas 2 A - Psalm 147:12-20

Psalm 147:12-20
I don’t mean to dispute the accuracy of the scriptures but according to “the weather in most of Israel is not extreme by any standard, so that the Israeli winter is at best what New Yorkers would call autumn. That means temperatures between 41° and 65° in Tel Aviv. However, Jerusalem can get as low as 34° at night. Brrrrrr! Who can withstand such an icy blast? Of course winter like autumn may be due to global warming and 3000 years ago Jerusalem was a ski resort. Or maybe snow like wool happened so rarely that the people of Jerusalem were like Texans who having never lived through a real winter that lasts from November to April think of snow as a novelty. (Unless it stays around for more than a day, of course) It does seem an odd reference for a warm climate unless we put it in the context of verses two and three; “The Lord builds up Jerusalem and gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” It can get very cold in Babylon and a tiny nation held captive might doubt their favored nation status. But if God controls the weather, even in Babylon, hurling hail like pebbles and stirring up breezes to make waters flow then they are not a small people to be pitied but God’s own people who alone are the keepers of God’s statutes and judgments. It is true for us as well who experience times of doubt, when brokenhearted we are held captive by circumstance and wonder when we will experience peace within our personal borders or be satisfied again with the finest of wheat. The word of encouragement to the exiles returned is a word of encouragement for us to whom the word of God has been revealed, not in an icy blast but in an infant’s cry, not in hail hurled like pebbles but in the child grown to be the Christ crucified and risen.

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