|Good Friday, Year A||April 14, 2017||Good Friday, Year A||John 18:11, 9:28-30|
|Maundy Thursday, Year A||April 13, 2017||Maundy Thursday, Year A||John 13:1-7, 31b-35|
|Palm Sunday, Year A||April 9, 2017||Palm Sunday, Year A||Matthew 26:36-46|
|Lent 5||April 2, 2017||Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A, Baptism||John 11:1-45|
|Lent 4||March 26, 2017||Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A||Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41|
|Lent 3||March 19, 2017||Third Sunday in Lent, Year A||Psalm 95, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42|
|Lent 2||March 12, 2017||Second Sunday in Lent, Year A||Genesis 12:1-4a, Psalm 121, John 3:1-17|
|Lent 1||March 5, 2017||First Sunday in Lent, Year A||Matthew 4:1-11|
|Ash Wednesday||March 1, 2017||Ash Wednesday, Year A||Matthew 4:1-11|
|Last Sunday after the Epiphany||February 26, 2017||Last Sunday after Epiphany, Year A||Matthew 17:1-9|
|Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany||February 19, 2017||Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Year A||Leviticus 19:1-2, I Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany||February 12, 2017||Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany||February 5, 2017||Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A||Isaiah 58:1-12; Matthew 5:13-20|
|Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – Reflections on Annual Convention, Susan Tilt||January 29, 2017||4th Sunday after the Epiphany||Matthew 5:1-12|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany||January 22, 2017||Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Psalm 27:1, 5-13, Matthew 4:12-23|
Christmas Day, Year A
Sermon Date:December 25, 2016
Scripture: Isaiah 52:7-10, Hebrews 1:1-4, Psalm 98, John 1:1-14
Liturgy Calendar: Christmas Day, 2016
“Song of the Angels” (1881) – William Adolphe Bouquereau
Today’s Christmas readings are full of voices!
Isaiah talks about the messenger who brings good news and announces salvation.
“Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy!”
“Break forth together in singing!”
And the psalmist says “Sing to the Lord a new song for the Lord has done marvelous things!”
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands!”
Sing to the Lord with the harp, shout with joy before the Lord!”
Even creation lifts its voice in praise—
“Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, the lands and those who dwell therein. Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord when he comes to judge the earth!”
The writer of Hebrews tells us that God sustains all things through God’s powerful word.
And then we come to the gospel according to John, with that incredible opening that begins with THE WORD.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
God’s voice spoke all things into being at the beginning of time, and God did this through the WORD.
“And what has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”
God has spoken each of us into life, and God has given each of us a unique voice.
I recently read an interesting article in The Washington Post by Michael Alison Chandler about voices, and the effort on the part of speech scientists to build an international “Human Voicebank.” To do this, the scientists have turned to a “vast network of volunteers who are donating their voices to share with people who cannot speak.” Right now, over 17,000 volunteers from 110 countries are donating their voices for this project.
“A sophomore in high school from Columbia, Maryland, Priyanka Pandya, age 16, spent several hours over Thanksgiving weekend recording a string of sentences into her laptop.”
She said of her efforts—“To be able to give somebody the gift of voice—I think that’s really, really powerful.”
Chandler points out that Priyanka will be “one of the people whose donated voice will help the over 2 million Americans who have severe speech disorders and need help to communicate.”
Rupal Patel, a speech technology professor on leave from Northeastern University, the woman who started the voice bank, says that “even people who are speechless have sounds that are unique to them.”
And so “her company designs personalized synthetic voices, by recording the unique, if limited sounds of the user, and then blending them with a larger sample from a voice donor, matched by age, gender and region,” so that people who can’t speak can now have the gift of a voice that is unique to them.
As Christians, we have a “Human Voicebank.” That voicebank is right in the Bible—the voices of the prophets, the voices of the Psalmists, the voices of the people who walked alongside Jesus himself during his time on earth, the voices of the apostles—all of them have given their voices through the centuries to our Human Voicebank.
They have donated their voices so that we can learn to speak with God’s voice, as they did.
Each of one of us has a unique voice that the world wants to hear.
And when we remember that God’s word called each one of us into being, then we can use the unique voice that God has given us to praise God and to tell the great story of God’s salvation for each one of us and for all of creation.
We know from our voicebank the great story of salvation that stretches through every book of Holy Scripture that God is a God of mercy, compassion, peace, and love.
On this Christmas Day, the day we receive once more the gift of our Lord and Savior, who arrived to an unwed mother and a father who had to be on the road at an inopportune time. And when he was born, Mary had no place to lay our Lord but in a manger in the stable where he was born.
And yet, the angels sang with joy! Glory to God in the highest! The shepherds told everyone what they had seen and heard and all who heard what the shepherds told them were amazed.
Today, as we receive this gift of salvation through the birth of our Lord and Savior, it’s our turn to tell everyone what we have seen and heard,
To spread the word—to speak God’s language of love, mercy, compassion and peace into the world, to add our unique voices to the Human Voicebank that is love.
The world needs our voices speaking God’s language of love. Maybe our voices will help others find their voices, so that they too can speak with love to the world.
So go out today, and use your voice! Share God’s love. Speak with mercy and compassion. Call peace into being.
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for the Lord has done marvelous things!”
Resource: Chandler, Michael Alison. “Volunteers donate voices so that others can speak.” The Washington Post, Tuesday, December 6, page B5.