Homily, Sharing the Divine Life
Second Sunday of Christmas, Year C, 2022
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
The Rev. Derek M Larson, TSSF
Today’s Lectionary Readings:
“Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity.”
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Grant that we may share the divine life.” Share the divine life. These are the words of the opening Collect prayer assigned for today, the Second Sunday of Christmas. And I think it’s a beautiful way to capture another angle—another perspective—another way of looking at the story of the Incarnation.
Because so often we talk about the Incarnation as something we receive. We talk about how Christ came to us, how Christ offered himself to us, how Christ gave himself to the world around us. It’s sort of a one way street.
But what would it look like if we saw the Incarnation as something we share? As an encounter of mutuality. As a relationship. As a love story. Or even as a wedding.
My wife, LauraAnn, and I were married almost 10 years ago. Later this year will be our 10 year anniversary. We were married on the first day of Autumn just as the leaves were beginning to change color in this beautiful, historic Episcopal church in Franklin, TN just outside of Nashville—St. Paul’s. I was serving there as youth minister at the time. And we had our reception in the church courtyard there and we invited some of our friends up from Florida who played in sort of a bluegrass/ Americana style band for the entertainment.
Now most couples when they’re dating or when the get married have a special song that they share. And often that song is played at the reception for the first dance or another part of the celebration. And LauraAnn and I had our songs as well. But there was one song in particular we loved. Without LauraAnn knowing, I asked the band if they could learn this song, and a bit later in the reception I surprised LauraAnn and took her by the hand up to the microphones with the band and while they played the music, LauraAnn and I sang the song as a duet.
The song is called Home. And the lyrics to the chorus are really simple, they just say, “Home. Let me come home. Home is whenever I’m with you. Home. Let me come home. Home is whenever I’m with you.”
*Link to poor quality video of the moment at bottom of this page!*
And this moment was so special to me, because the words to this song captured for me exactly how I felt in that moment. LauraAnn was my home. LauraAnn was the one I loved, the one with whom I wanted to share my life. I wanted to be with her. I wanted to spend time with her—but not just a little time—I wanted to weave my whole life with her life in such a way that it became our life—our shared life. And to my great joy, she felt the same way, and our lives became one.
That’s what the Incarnation is like. Christ came into the world not just to give his life for us, but to share his life with us. And the hope of the Incarnation is that his longing for us will be met with our longing for him.
And this is why our Psalm for this morning, Psalm 84, is perfect for the second Sunday of Advent.
“How dear to me is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts! My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God. Happy are they who dwell in your house!”
It’s a love song. Not unlike the song LauraAnn and I sang at our wedding, “home is wherever I’m with you.” “Happy are they who dwell in your house!” The Psalmist here doesn’t just want to occasionally visit God, to be an acquaintance, or even to be a neighbor and friend; the Psalmist wants to live with God. The Psalmist wants to weave her life with God’s life in such a way that they become one. One shared life. This is a love song and the Incarnation (which is what we celebrate at Christmas) is a marriage, a wedding, a fusing together of Divine and human life.
And thus, the Incarnation is not simply something done for us, or to us, or on our behalf, the Incarnation is something that we have to take part in. The offering of Christ for us on Christmas is a love song waiting to be reciprocated.
Christmas is the celebration of the great gift of Jesus to our lives, and in Christmas, Jesus hopes to receive the great gift of our lives.
Today on this second Sunday and ninth day of Christmas we continue to make our journey through the season. Until this Thursday, when we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany when the Magi arrive, bringing their gifts to Jesus. Even now, the Magi stand at the back of our church, ready to offer their gifts.
And the question for us this morning is will we take our place among them? Will we make our journey with them to Bethlehem so that we may offer the gift of ourselves to the gift who has has offered himself to us? Will we join with God in the singing of a love song and a shared life?
I invite you to take a moment to reflect on your answer to that question. How might you participate in the gift of the Incarnation? How might you share your life with the God who has shared the Divine life with you?
God, grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Bonus: Here is a poor quality video of LauraAnn and I singing at our wedding: