World Judgment and World Redemption

PLEASE NOTE:  This Advent season at Faith Lutheran we are using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “God is in the Manger” devotional booklet for daily devotions and weekly sermon themes.  What follows has been taken from that booklet.

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”  John 3:16-21

 

When God chooses Mary as the means when God himself wants to come into the world in the manger of Bethlehem, this is not an idyllic family affair.  It is instead the beginning of a complete reversal, a new ordering of all things on this earth.

 

If we want to participate in this Advent and Christmas event, we cannot simply sit there like spectators in a theater and enjoy all the friendly pictures. Rather, we must join in the action that is taking place and be drawn into this reversal of all things ourselves.  Here we too must act on the stage, for here the spectator is always a person acting in the drama.  We cannot remove ourselves from the action.

 

With whom, then, are we acting?  Pious shepherds who are on their knees?  Kings who bring their gifts?  What is going on here, when Mary becomes the mother of God, where God comes into the world in the lowliness of the manger?

 

World judgment and world redemption – that is what’s happening here.

 

And it is the Christ child in the manger himself who hold world judgment and world redemption.  He pushes back the high and mighty; he overturns the thrones of the powerful; he humbles the haughty; his arm exercises power over all the high and mighty; he lifts what is lowly, and makes it great and glorious in his mercy.

 

Let us pray:  Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the preaching of John, that, rejoicing in your salvation, we may bring forth the fruits of repentance; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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