We began with a quick review of Luke's lectionary year C that we're concluding today.
Next Sunday with the first Sunday of Advent we begin a new year of grace that mostly will feature gospel readings from Matthew, (Revised Common) lectionary Year A. For today as we contemplate the King who reigns from a cross, for Nativity as we consider the fullness of the divine presence in the Bethlehem manger, a few lines from Gian-Carlo Menotti's one act opera Amahl and the Night Visitors.
The child we seek holds the seas and the winds on his palm.
The child we seek has the moon and the stars at his feet.
Before him, the eagle is gentle the lion is meek.
On love, on love alone will he build his kingdom...
His might will not be built on your toil.
Swifter than lightning he will soon walk among us.
He will bring us new life and receive our death.
And the keys to his city belong to the poor.
11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued [exodus, a new deliverance, a new freedom from slavery] us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
The epistle or letter to Colossians – the church at Colossae – contains vocabulary, syntax, general style, and theological perspective that almost definitely is not from the pen of Saul of Tarsus / the apostle Paul. This first chapter brings us the pre-existent cosmic Christ who created everything, who was firstborn from the dead, who reigns over all creation. The Gospel according to John, the fourth canonical gospel, also has the pre-existent Christ: "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God."
The fullness of redemption, salvation, includes redeeming, restoring, and resurrecting all creation, not only human creatures.
John's gospel brings us Jesus' resurrection in a garden on the eighth day that's the first day of the new creation. The new garden of Eden evolves into a city!
Discussion of Jesus of Nazareth the Christ of God as the image of God. In John 14:19 Jesus tells us,"If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." The bible, the Book of Life, Good Book, shows us Jesus. What's an image? A mirror? According to the PCUSA'a Great Ends of the Church, the church is "the exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world." That's us! That's an image everyone can see!