You all are a part of God’s work every time you show hospitality, you create something beautiful and new, every time you guide the gifts that are brought in or take care of this house of worship and love.
And that is what Jesus came to show us and teach us: how to love. Jesus’ very birth and life on earth was out of God’s love for the world. Jesus, who didn’t label which people deserved love and which didn’t, but welcomed, healed, and served all. Jesus, who out of such wondrous love for God and for us, gave his life on the cross, so we could all know God’s love which neither death nor life can separate us from. Everything Jesus did was to show us how beautiful love truly is. He wanted us to know that we are loved and he wanted us to pass that love on.
God made you because the world is better simply by you existing, simply by you being unlike anyone else.
All around us is evidence of God calling us to generosity, to hospitality, to love and compassion. The problem is not that the message isn’t being told.
Our message for today is to see Christ’s kingdom in our everyday items and moments and lives. And knowing that they too are a part of God’s kingdom. This is the way of Jesus Christ. It’s not always glamorous or glitzy. But it’s full of love, it’s full of grace, it’s full of the holy breaking through.
This armor of God is a powerful thing. Because just as spiritual powers of evil are real, so are the spiritual powers of good. And these powers are not only for the rich or high class or the ones seen as mighty by the world, but for all of God’s wonderful children.
But God is always good. God uses yirah not to turn us away, but to draw us near and change us from the inside out. The Fear of the Lord does not mean to hide from God as if God is some evil tyrant ready to attack and destroy. It means instead to get ready, because you are about to see something extraordinary and your life will never be the same.
We don’t want a god who is never angry. A god who is never angry is a god who doesn’t care. A god who is never angry is a god who doesn’t love us so much that our pain is God’s pain, that our joy is God’s joy. A god who is never angry is not so connected to us and this whole creation that god would come and take on our flesh and blood to teach us and guide us and heal us and show us a whole new life. A god who is never angry would be an abstract, uncaring, unloving god. And that’s not the God who made us, and redeems us, and is with us wherever we go.
What Jesus is offering is not something that can be sold. It doesn’t have a great jingle. There’s no flashy sales pitch. Instead, it’s “Pick up your cross and deny yourself.” It’s “love your enemy and give your second cloak.” It’s “forgive 7 times 77 times” and look at the “log in your own eye before judging your neighbor.”