June 22, 2021

The Inbreaking and the Favoured in God’s Love 20-12-2020

Advent 4, 20th December 2020
The Inbreaking and the Favoured in God’s Love.
Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:26-38
By Heeyoung Lim
Christmas is nearly here! Our Advent wait is nearly over! On this 4th Sunday in Advent, we lit the candle of LOVE. Soon Christmas day will arrive. We are challenged to reveal that same LOVE as we live out our faith here. We thank God for a love beyond our human understanding and await the birth of God’s LOVE this Christmas.
We are still in a COVID affected unstable world. How can we go back to the stable? We can stay stable in a manger of stable. Now, just before Christmas, we can get back to the basics of our faith which is God’s unconditional love freely given and received in a changing, uncertain world.
There are famous scenes such as angels, shepherds, wise men and stars in the Christmas stories, and Today’s gospel is more focused on Mary’s story regarding the Jesus’ incarnation. However, all the Christmas related topics need to indicate Jesus.
As we celebrate the birth of the Christ child in the stable of Bethlehem where Jesus’ inbreaking incarnation happened and the inbreaking is still happening to us. Where is our spiritual stable and Bethlehem? Can we all invite and welcome Jesus in our inner stable today?
As we are getting back to the centre of our faith and back to the core of what we believe, the distance with Jesus will be closer and closer.
God fulfills his promises, and He often accomplishes his will in unusual and unexpected ways. God’s promise that Jesus will “sit on the throne of David” fulfils the covenant in 2 Samuel 7:1-11 and reveals God’s faithfulness from the prophetic quote.
The angel visits a young woman named Mary. The angel Gabriel represents of the presence of God. The angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.”
Mary is the favoured by God and she has experienced God’s undeserved grace in a special way. This does not change who Mary is, but she became a special instrument whom God chose to use in his gracious plan of salvation. Mary is elected to a particular purpose in which she wholeheartedly participates, but she is not sinless. (The favoured is not about favouritism.) The favoured by God is a blessing, but it does not mean she is “worthy of praise. The grace Mary received was God’s presence with her.
However, the highly favoured becomes sometimes the greatly troubled in this world. The appearance of divine messenger like an angel would be powerful and enough to stir up her thoughts. The heavenly messenger understood her troubled mind, so the angel said to Mary “The Lord is with you” and “Do not be afraid”. The angel’s message did not ease Mary’s confused mind immediately, because confusion reigned, and questions aroused. She had never received such a greeting!
What are our obstacles in a blessed event from God? Our spiritual blindness? The habit of saying “No thanks” to God? We are sometimes not ready to receive even greetings, blessings, the favoured by God, and we often misunderstand about God’s plan and will when the ways we face are totally different with ours even in a blessed event.
There was a divine birth announcement for a baby named Jesus and Son of God in the Bible. Mary is described as favoured and perplexed, and depicted as the model Christian believer when she questions, believes, and submits to her vocation.
God’s messenger had the answer to the confused Mary. The Holy Spirit will come upon Mary, enabling her to do and be more than she could by herself. The angel informed this child would be born through the Holy Spirit and a special miracle of God. (35)
Both Mary and Elizabeth were in the divine miracle. In humble submission, Mary was now ready to serve God and follow his will. (38) Both agreed to do what God required. With his mission accomplished, the angel left. Mary was responding to God’s command in absolute obedience.
God was at work again in wonderful ways. God’s grace removes all fear, and He does the impossible. Then and now! God will surround her completely with his sovereign power. God’s love will always care for us whenever God takes the initiative because God is love.
Mary is the “blessed one” who is called by God to bear the Christ child, the “servant of the Lord” who desires that God’s will come to achievement through her. (38)
There were voices from an angel in the presence of God, those were “Do not be afraid”, and “you have found favour with God”, and “nothing is impossible with God.” We can hear the voices when we are anxious, sad and in darkness.
Mary’s response to Gabriel’s remarkable announcement of the coming birth of Christ were “Here I am, and I am the servant of the Lord”. Mary’s obedience is neither optional nor forced. She has no choice but to submit to God’s will. Mary acts freely when she offers herself as a servant of the Lord. (38)
We are being called to be used by God, our existence and responses need to be before God. I hope all we can say ‘Here I am, and I am the servant of the Lord’ before God.
In addition to inviting us to think about who we are and what we do in relation to God and God’s work, this passage challenges us to be reoriented by what the incarnation tells us about Jesus. The inbreaking of Jesus changed our whole life in God’s love. God is giving us the salvation and continuous love through the inbreaking of the holy, the favour of God, and being with us.
The holy being came into a particular time and place (v. 26), sent by God to a particular person and community (v. 27). We cannot anticipate the ways that God will break into our history. Even this announcement of the long-awaited birth of the Messiah makes it clear that salvation is obviously from God. The way of God’s breaking is unfamiliar with us. God’s way is new, but there is a promise of “nothing will be impossible with God” (v. 37). Jesus came to be with us, and he is coming, and he will come again to our broken lives and torn and ruined world, where seem to never be healed or overturned. Yet Luke tells us that not only is redemption possible; it has already happened. Because of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, the holy continues to break into our lives, to bring us closer to the completion God’s promises and the already-and-not-yet reign of God. (Luke 1:38)
We believe that God breaks in, to restore, reveal, and redeem the chaos we have made of, and we proclaim that God’s gospel of justice and peace may turn our world upside down. It is all about God, none of me.
God did the impossible, bringing the Son of God to earth in a virgin womb to become the Son of David who rules an eternal kingdom. (26) Nothing is impossible with God! All we can trust God to be true to his promises, but God act first and we response.
All we need to be receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our Christian life, as Jesus lived in dependence on the ministries of the Holy Spirit on the earth. I hope the indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to live the life of faith.
God works out his will according to his perfect timing. Faith brings blessing. Praise and adoration belong to God alone. We would like to give praise and thanks to God continually for his gracious gift of salvation. I pray the inbreaking and the favoured by God will not be forgotten in our lives.
The Inbreaking on the earth happened and God’s love revealed in Jesus, God responds to our faith and rewards our obedience as Mary’s willingness and obedience were a part of God’s impossible acts. I hope and pray that God’s love with His saving purpose will be upon you and your lives always. God is at work by grace, and we are waiting for the coming of the Lord in obedience with great love.
Christmas reminds us that God comes among us as a tiny human baby in the same way, but all things are never the same! Let us go to the stable where Jesus stays to be renewed. Then we can follow him wherever he is leading us! The Lord is with you! Do not be Afraid! The Holy Spirit will come upon you. For nothing will be impossible with God. And we can say that Here l am, the servant of the Lord. This is our happiness in God’s LOVE. We praise God’s constant LOVE and faithfulness.

Thanks be to God! Amen

Ref. Bible, Commentaries, Theological Books, UCA & Other Denomination’s Materials and Resources