Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"God’s Woven Blanket"

I Samuel 2:18-20, Psalm 148, Luke 2:41-52
December 27, 2009

by James Greene

 

           We see God’s love towards all mankind, demonstrated in the birth of Jesus, in this Season.  Have you ever noticed the dynamics of families, and how people relate within a family?  In the Bible we see the full spectrum of families and how people’s behaviors in those families are woven into their character.  There are the dynamics of how families care for each other.  We see some of those dynamics in our reading from I Samuel and from Luke.  We get a unique insight into Samuel’s and Jesus’ relationship with their parents.

 

In our reading from the Old Testament book of I Samuel, we see a glimpse of Samuel as a youth, when he is serving in the Temple under the instruction of Eli.  It describes the ephod, that his mother Hannah made for him, to wear while working with Eli in the Temple.  Because God had blesses Hannah with a child, she dedicated him to The Lord, and had given him to Eli to educate and train him, in his service to God.

 

Now there were several things identified as an Ephod in the Old Testament.  1. There is the breastplate that had 12 stones (one for each one of the Tribes in Israel) worn by the High priest.  2. Was the loin cloth worn by King David when he danced before the Ark. 3. The one identified as a white-linen in I Samuel.  It was close-fitting, sleeveless garment warn by those who were set apart for service.  It was kind of the Fruit-of-The-Loom of that time.  We see how his mother remembered Samuel each year, when she and her husband went up to the temple each year for the annual sacrifice.  She cared enough to make this linen garment for him, because she was blessed by The Lord with her family, and Samuel grew to became a blessing to Israel

 

            In Psalm 148 V:14 we see how God will ‘raise up for his people a “horn”’ –an anointed leader – King David, and the son of David – Jesus that “all of his saints, all of Israel, and all of the people close to his heart [will] praise the Lord.”  It is a psalm of praise of the qualities of the Lord by all nature, all the nations and all peoples of the earth are to praise the “name of” the Lord.  One of the binding fibers, that all creation has in common, is its response, to the “praise the Lord”.

 

           We are called to clothe ourselves in the fibers of character: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  We demonstrate these elements and weave them into our own character.  We, like Samuel, become God’s representative.  We weave that standard into our homes, into our community, and into the fabric of the world.  Just as being friendly involves the spirit of choice, so too is choosing to make the elements of

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God’s character, part and parcel of our own character, and to weave these elements into our own character.  Just as we choose to exhibit the qualities of being a friend to those whom we call friends, we put on the cloth of God’s love in all of our actions.  We strive to put on the cloak of the shepherd, that we, like the shepherd, care for each person around us.  It is wrapped up in the quality of our thoughts and actions.  It is part of our heart, and the quality of our character.  It becomes part of the fiber of our being.  It is at the heart of what it is to be a Child of God. 

We learn this through the model of God’s standards.  It is in living this example and by choosing to demonstrate God’s love and God’s character as a Child of God, that we, being made in the image of God, must reflect the qualities and behavior of our creator.  It is a blanket woven from the fibers of our hearts, with the fibers of God’s character.  It is the color, and hue in all of the fabric of our character.

In doing this, we live out our call-  to be an example and a light to those around us.  This is God’s standard as outlined in His Word, and taught and demonstrated by Christ, the Living Word.  The One who came and dwelt among us. This is Christ’s call to us to live in Righteousness;  like Samuel, to be a priesthood of believers;  To help establish the Kingdom of Heaven, brought into the here and now, through our “right action” and character, like Hannah.

 

In the movie "The Kingdom of Heaven", the warrior Priest is talking to Iban, when he says: "Holiness is in right action.  Courage, on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves.  Goodness, - what God desires, is here (the head) and here (the heart)

and what you decide to do, everyday,-  you will be a good man, ---or not."  It is in our choosing that we bring about God’s Kingdom in right action which is a result of the qualities of the fiber of our character,-   that is woven into what God desires for us.

 

           In our reading from Luke, we see Jesus as a young boy, with his family, celebrating the Feast of Passover with the annual pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.  This is part of his family’s history with the larger extended family.  As in Psalm 148 they went to the Temple to praise the Lord.  It was part of the fiber of their

Identity, in their faith.  Just as in Luke 4:16 it states that “it was his custom” when Jesus went into the synagogue and stood up to read Isaiah, reveals the fiber of his faith as an adult and his history in reading and teaching the text.

Here in Luke, Jesus is found in the Temple questioning and teaching.  It is a common thread through out all of Jesus’ ministry.  It is part of his identity, that in all things he is teaching, even when he was dying on the cross in Psalm 22.  It is the major fiber of His being.

 

We also see the dynamic within his family.  His mother asks the questions- “Son, why have you treated us like this?  Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  How many times have we as parents said that, or been on the receiving end of that questioning as a child or teenager?  It seems to be a universal guilt question that parents use. But it is because we care about our kids.  It is part of the fiber of the family.

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But even Jesus answers with his own questions “Why were you searching for me?  “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” Was demonstrating Right Action.  He was not doing anything wrong, he was doing the “right thing”, what

he was called to do –- Teach.  It was part of his character.  The word ‘Father’ used here is the formal word for head of the household.  It wasn’t the child’s intimate use of ‘Abba’ – “Daddy’ like we see in the Lord’s Prayer.  It reflects his submission to his Heavenly Father, and to his parents, when after that, he was obedient to them.  His submission too, was part of his character.

 

Summation

We see all of these fibers of life, as a weaving of God’s blanket, and God’s purpose in our lives.  Because in that warp and the woof of life.  It is the constant thread of God’s love for us in all things.  It is the tie that binds; it is the one element that is present in all aspects of our lives.

           The Psalm of praise not just by Israel, or Judah, but by all people and all nations, because God cares for all people and all of His creation.  Just as Jesus is in his Fathers house – doing right,-  teaching and preaching God’s purpose and God’s love to all people through out his ministry.

 

God’s love is like a blanket, that covers us, and wraps us in his caring.  It is part of the fiber of God’s character.  It is also an illustration of how God's love works through us, to be Christ to those around us, and the impact upon all around us in hearing and being apart of the Good News.  It is in our fiber to demonstrate that love, if we are to be the same example as Jesus,- We are to be the image of Christ, and a witnesses to the love of Christ in our actions.  We are to be committed to be the living examples of what it is to be in, and doing God's Will.

It is the focus of our hearts.  It is the cloth we weave from the fabric of our soul that we use to wrap around those in suffering.  We are to be a blessing to all, even in our

imperfections.  We share what we have received: -    God’s Grace,   and God’s loving compassion, with those in suffering,

           that we may be a light to all,

                      that we may be God’s blanket and comfort to all 

It is part of our character as a Child of God, and we do it….  all

 

 

           In the Name of …. the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen

 

 

 

 

 

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