Saturday, December 17, 2016

The House of Bread

It's Saturday, the 21st day in the third week of Advent.  The scripture reading for today follows yesterday's and brings us back to the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem.

Luke 2:1-7
1  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3  And everyone went to his own town to register.
4  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
5  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
6  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
7  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

All over the world people gather to worship during Advent - proclaiming Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  All of this is done in the midst of everyday living...with work to be done, appointments to keep, shuttling children to school and events, helping with homework, doing the wash, making meals, going to the office, arranging for the plumber or electrician to come...everyday stuff.
The world today is filled with the mundane...even in the midst of wars, economy, political realities and nations posturing for power.

We focus on our world and the "urgent" among us and often forget that God as it work behind the scenes.    Caesar is on the throne.  His armies have moved in Gaul, conquered in Arabia, marched on England, and Rome is filled with the politics of building projects, raising taxes, and power moves.  Caesar believes HE is the most powerful person in the world.  They named him "Augustus" - the "holy, revered one".  Some of his lackeys ruling in his empire name places after him...they did in Israel with Caesarea.  One Roman coin discovered has a picture of him with the words "savior of the world".  It is the cult of Caesar that dominates the news.

Behind the scene, several thousands of miles away, God is at work.  God uses the decree of the Emperor to fulfill an ancient prophecy in the book of Micah that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.  NO ONE thought much of a young couple traveling on donkey from the north to the south of Israel - to Bethlehem.

Bethlehem - "The House of Bread"

  • King David was born there, and was a shepherd there.
  • Boaz had married Ruth there.
  • Jacob had buried his wife Sarah there a 1000 years before.
A small village built on steep desert hills.  Micah 5:2 
2  "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." 

Bethlehem, a small Cambria where I live  Who believes anything good can come from a small village like that?  God did.
Caesar was on the throne and he ruled over the whole known world...but what he didn't know that day was that God's Kingdom was about to invade the earth!

The lesson?  Do not believe the news...our world in turmoil lay the hymn says, but God is still on His throne, his will to be done.


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