"Stir Up Thy Power
And With Great Might Come Among Us
We Are Hindered by Our Sins
Your Grace and Mercy is Bountiful"
On this Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday—Rejoice Sunday--
We ask God, to Stir Up Holy Power
And to come among US
To dwell among us
And I wonder, friends, who is this God? And what does the power of God look like?
Stir Up Thy Power, Oh God
God’s power is
it is grace and mercy and joy and re-joicing
And, God’s Power is subversive
Human and Divine
Stir Up Thy Power, O God--
We are hindered--
might and greed
by what we cannot see or perceive
by lies of scarcity and supremacy
and truths we do not speak
Because we are afraid--
Stir Up Your Power Among Us God and With Great Might Come Among Us
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
God, With Us
God’s Power and Might With Us
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee
How can we rejoice if we feel stuck in darkness. Hindered by sin?
To rejoice—despite the darkness and the evil and the fear that hinders us--
This is Holy Way Isiah preaches about—a way where no traveler—NOT EVEN FOOLS—shall go astray.
To rejoice is not the same as to be Merry and Bright--
It isn’t the sugary sweetness of the Holiday Season.
It is not happiness, exactly—It is Joy.
And Joy is not predicated on happiness.
Joy can be with us even as we suffer. And are sad. Or melancholy.
To rejoice in God doesn’t require us to have a holly jolly Christmas.
We can rejoice in God our savior even when it doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year.
Stir Up your Power, God, We are hindered—by our sadness and loss. Hindered by our humanity. Our fears.
Hindered by darkness.
I wonder if Mary prayed to God to stir up power within her so that her spirit might rejoice in God, her Savior.
Mary is a poor, unmarried, pregnant young woman living in a violent occupied territory of the Roman Empire--
And yet, still she rejoices in God.
And in her rejoicing--she becomes un-fettered, set free, stirred by God’s creative and life-giving power.
Mary, in her rejoicing, defies the claims of empire, and proclaims the power of God to be the power that
Casts down the mighty from their thrones
Scatters the proud and lifted up the lowly
Fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty
We have no idea if she is happy. Or Merry. Or Bright.
But She is Rejoicing in God, her Savior. And in the crazy, subversive way she is part of God’s plan for salvation and mercy and grace.
To proclaim Joy like Mary is not to deny the darkness in our lives.
It is to acknowledge the power of God in our lives--
It is to stand defiant against the darkness that surrounds us, rejoicing in the promise that even in the darkness, God—Emmanuel—is With Us.
Stir up thy power, Lord, and with Great might come among us.
Set us free from all that hinders us, give us courage to rejoice like Mary: defiant against the darkness and certain in your promises of salvation grace and mercy.
St. Augustine’s Episcopal Parish, TempeYear A, Advent 3, 2019
My Sermons (and other thoughts)
a sampling of sermons preached in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and a sprinkling of other reflections