St Stephen Lewisham
23rd December 2012
Advent 4: No Ordinary People
When God suddenly came into the world which He had created, St John tells us that “the world did not know Him”. So it’s hardly surprising if today’s world fails to recognize Him in our midst. We shouldn’t be surprised because, as Isaiah says, our God is ‘a god who hides Himself”
Yes, some people, the Jews in particular, were looking for a saviour; but they were expecting him to be a military or political Strong Man who would free them from the oppression of the invading Roman Empire and the corruption of their own people which follows such conquests.
But God chose to incarnate His Son in the role of a Slave (or a Servant) As the Second Reading says, His Son responded, “[Father], here I am! I am coming to obey Your will”. The Father’s will was to “make us holy by the offering of His body made once and for all by Jesus Christ”; or, as St Paul says “He emptied Himself to assume the condition of a slave”. There could hardly be anything more ordinary than a slave, or a greater contrast than that between a servant and a political Strong Man.
People continue to make the same mistake today, not least about themselves. All too often they pride themselves with the thought of how ordinary they are. So ordinary, in fact, that they assume that God can’t really be interested in them – so they needn’t take any interest in Him.
Micah tells us that people of his time thought Bethlehem wasn’t ‘important’. But they too were mistaken. Bethlehem became extra-ordinary by the very fact that God chose it for His Incarnation. God alone knows why He made that particular choice! But He did!
So, there are no ‘ordinary’ people, and no ‘ordinary’ towns.
Now substitute your own name for that of Jesus Christ; and Lewisham, Deptford, Greenwich or Blackheath for Bethlehem. Then ask yourself the question “How can I be certain that God hasn’t intended Unimportant Me [Richard Roe, or whatever you are called], of Lewisham, [or wherever] to play some role, small or large, but important nonetheless, in working His purpose out?
We just can’t be sure. The fact is that, between now and the moment of your death, God has designed you to play the part of a Servant, to others – and God knows what other parts as well. For He’s interested in changing you and me into His Extra Ordinary people. Are you and I interested in allowing Him to do so?
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