December 2016 Archives

All the earth was to be registered according to the Luke, which seems considerably stronger than just a simple sentence. Registered implies a much stronger means of keeping track of people.  

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 24, 2016 - Christmas Eve  

"Registered".  Text is from Luke 2:1-20




Greetings to you, sisters and brothers, my family in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

This is the night for the hope for all the ages. And here, Luke has lain it out in great detail, Augustus is emperor of all of Rome, and Quirinius is the governor of Syria. And because the emperor is demanding that all of this world be registered, Joseph is forced to make his way from his home in Nazareth, which is in the north of Israel around Galilee to Bethlehem, which is not far from Jerusalem because it is where he hails from, coming from the line of David, who was also originally from this place.

baby jesus helpless.png

God comes in the form of a human being in the same way all human beings come into the world, a fragile and vulnerable infant who can't take care of itself. What does this mean about who our God is?  

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 21, 2016 - 4th Wednesday in Advent

"Fragile and Vulnerable God".  Text is from Luke 2:1-20

This Sunday's gospel was concentrated around Joseph. Joseph could have set Mary aside when he heard she was with child. Joseph received instructions from an angel and chose to take her as his wife. Joseph had all the power. Because women had no power in those days. 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 18, 2016 - Fourth Sunday in Advent  

"Condition of Women".  Text is from Matthew 1:18-25




Greetings to you, sisters and brothers, my family in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

Now, a lot of people might be familiar with the story of the birth of Jesus, and we have seen performances from Christmas Pageants the longer and inevitably more familiar birth narrative originating from Luke. We see Mary hearing from the angel and we see Mary being the devoted pregnant mother, and Mary always seems to be the most important part. But Joseph? He has never really gotten much to say in a Christmas pageant. He seems to be relegated to a side part.

But reading the narrative from Matthew, we don't do a lot of talking much about Mary and the birth at all, so much as we do about the drama surrounding Joseph and the angst that he must have been going through. 

But what was Joseph to do anyway? When we say that Joseph was engaged to Mary, it's not so much like we understand engagement. Joseph didn't walk up to Mary, get down on one knee, pull a ring from out of his pocket and say, "Mary, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

Isaiah is always a prophet of two times, his time and the time of Christ. 

mother and child.jpg

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 14, 2016 - 3rd Wednesday in Advent

"Third Wednesday in Advent".  Text is from Isaiah 7:10-16

You go into the desert, do you expect to see palaces? You have a warehouse with no running water and sketchy electricity, you expect to have sprinklers and smoke detectors? You have out-of-control housing prices, what kind of conditions you expect for the people who can't afford proper housing? 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 11, 2016 - Third Sunday in Advent  

"What Did You Expect?".  Text is from Matthew 11:2-11




Greetings to you, sisters and brothers, my family in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

The gospel during Advent is good news. It is anticipation from beginning to end. It cries out from the perspective of souls longing for justice and self-determination. It reminds us that our God is a God who brings justice to all the world, a God who feeds the hungry, who frees the captives, welcomes the poor, the stranger, the widow and the orphan into God's loving arms. As Mary cries out, God comes to the aid of God's servant Israel, and remembers a merciful promise made to Abraham and all that would succeed him, a promise that with the birth of Jesus becomes open to all the world.

And yet, when we look at our Gospel message, we relate a time of ending for one of the heralds of the king to come. We read about one part of John the Baptist's ministry last week, while he was baptizing people in the River Jordan. Now he is in Herod's prison, hopeful that the one who he's been hearing about, Jesus of Nazareth, is the one foretold by the prophets, the one who he's been proclaiming who is coming forth. And John the Baptist has good reason to be wondering, because he knows his time is at end. It matters not what his eventual fate will be, and I doubt even John knew that he would soon be served up on a platter to the daughter of Herod, regardless, John knows that he will not be lasting very long in the prison. 

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