January 6, 2015 – Outsiders, Welcome!

January 6, 2015 – Outsiders, Welcome!
Kazimiera I.H. Fraley

Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet
of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news,
 who announces salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns.” – Isaiah 52:7

In January’s darkness there is a light. In the bitter cold, there is warmth. A star, a messenger, a harbinger of  joy; a light, which shines, and guides. We follow, cold and weary. Through the winter darkness, looking, seeking, searching. Is there hope for us? Is there joy for us?  Outsiders, looking in. The little match girl through the glass observing the feast, fellowship and fire; longing to reach out her hands to the fire and be warmed. Outsiders, wanting to join in.

We are the Kings, we are the Magi, on the outside looking in, outside the fellowship, outside the relationship. We walk through the night, through the winter, through the cold and the darkness seeking, searching. We are so far from holy relationship with God, so far from being the people God calls us to be, so far from who we truly want to be.

But - Listen! Can you hear it? The Messenger has come! Good News has arrived. There is news of glad tidings and great joy, for US. Salvation has come, a child has been born. He is the Lord. The nations gather round, and all worship. They all come to see the child, men from the far corners of the globe come to pay homage to the Christ child. The declaration made here in Isaiah announces salvation to Israel, but the salvation who has come, is for all peoples. Even here in Isaiah the salvation is on display before all nations, “all the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” The Christ child was born in Bethlehem, of the line of David, a Jew of Jews, the Messiah the Jewish people have been waiting for. But the child is of the Jews but is not for the Jews. The Child is for the nations, for all to see, salvation for all the earth. The Lord the God of Israel is Lord of all the earth and the salvation the Messiah brings is at its very core international. And even the Magi, the wise, are welcomed in. We are welcomed. All those who find themselves on the outside, in the margins, on the wrong side of the glass, are invited to enter.

The Messenger has come to bring glad tidings of good news for us all.  We are all welcome to come worship the baby king.  Magicians, and shepherds, Angels and pagans, we are all invited to hear the good news, to experience the good news, to come to know The Good News. The restored relationship the baby Jesus promises is for all peoples everywhere, great and small, rich and poor, naughty and nice.

Once far off, but now invited,
We approach Thy sacred throne;
In Thy covenant united,
Reconciled, redeemed, made one.
Now revealed to Eastern sages,
See the Star of Mercy shine;
Mystery hid in former ages,
Mystery great of love divine.

- Hail Thou Source of Every Blessing, Basil Woodd