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Homily for 1/6/08 - 1b4Nat - God with us

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  • Fr David Moser
    Matt 1:1-25 In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. Before this there was nothing, only God – there were no stars, no planets, no moons, no
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2008
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      Matt 1:1-25

      In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. Before this
      there was nothing, only God – there were no stars, no planets, no moons,
      no sky, no clouds, no earth. There were no oceans, no plants, no animals
      and no men. There was nothing, not even time and space. Out of His own
      self-existence God created all that we know now today as the universe.
      In His creation, God made many wonderful and beautiful things and He
      took special care to crown His creation with one creature who would
      provide the link between Himself and all that He had made. God created
      man and set him at the pinnacle of creation as its ruler and king and
      steward. When God created man, he considered carefully and said, “Let us
      make man in our own image” and so He did make man with the potential to
      become like Himself. God also made us as a unity of a spiritual soul and
      body, for only by uniting in us the spiritual and physical natures could
      we bring all of creation to reflect His glory. God made us so that we
      might become like Him and that as a result we might be with Him.

      But our first parents, Adam and Eve, were tempted by the evil one who
      himself was a fallen angel – that is a purely spiritual creature. The
      evil one had deceived himself into believing that he was God and was
      separated from God. So great was his delusion that even this did not
      turn him from his sin – and he sought to spread his rebellion against
      his Creator throughout the rest of God’s creation. And so the evil one
      approached our first parents speaking to them of his own delusion,
      trying to convince them that they were not only to become like God, but
      that they in fact could become God and take His place. Adam and Eve
      succumbed to this temptation and rebelled against God by disobedience –
      and their rebellion caused them to be separated from God, the One whom
      they were created to be with and they were cast out of the Garden of
      Eden and began to live out their lives without the close communion with
      God that had previously sustained them. In the beginning Adam and Even
      remembered God and repented of their rebellion and even in this world
      began to pray to Him and worship Him. They bore children and taught them
      too to worship God. But as the generations grew further from the first
      parents more and more did mankind forget God – they forgot Who He was
      and how to find Him. Mankind, the ones who had created to be with God
      and now become lost and were without God.

      Even though mankind was separated from God, still he had in his nature
      the desire to be with God and it was also in his nature to strive to
      become like God. Without the constant presence and communion with God,
      however, this nature became lost and misguided. Man began to look for
      God, but he looked in all the wrong places. Because he had separated
      himself from God through sin, he lost sight of the reality of the
      spiritual world and so his search for God was limited only to the
      physical world. He began to seek God in the forces of nature – in the
      stars of heaven, or in fire and water, or in the depths of the earth.
      Some, knowing God to be all powerful, tried to seek God in the powerful
      creatures – in the beasts of the field. Some men, responding to their
      nature to be like God deduced that if they were to be like God then God
      must be like them and so presumed to worship other men (or filled with
      their own power convinced other men to worship them). Everywhere mankind
      sought God, everywhere mankind found only himself for his sight was
      limited only to the physical world.

      But God did not abandon us to our futile search. He continued to love
      and care for us and sought to restore us to our original purpose and
      place – to become like Him that we might be with Him and bring all of
      creation to worship and glorify Him. He began first to reveal Himself to
      men in ways that they could understand. He chose a particularly pious
      and Godly man, Abram to be the father of His chosen people, through whom
      He would reveal Himself to mankind. The whole of the law and prophets
      are the record of God’s self revelation to the world through the chosen
      people. But this was not sufficient, for even the prophets were unable
      to see God clearly and they could only communicate an imperfect image of
      God. Something more was needed. God saw that we were searching for Him
      to be with Him and so He prepared the way for us to find Himself. The
      whole of the law and prophets looked forward to one thing – to the full
      and complete self revelation of God to us that we might know Him and be
      reunited with Him. The culmination of the law and the prophets and of
      the history and purpose of the chosen people came to its final
      expression in the incarnation. God Himself, the creator of all things
      visible and invisible, deigned to take on flesh, to become like us that
      we might become like Him. He came to be with us that we might be with
      Him. He was born in a miraculous manner to the Virgin Mary and God
      became man.

      As we heard in the Gospel, the Virgin Mary was betrothed to the
      righteous Joseph – not that she might enter into marriage, but that she
      might be delivered from marriage and live her life out in virginity.
      This protection of the righteous Joseph was ordained and blessed by God
      and when she was found to be with child, even though she had never known
      a man, the angel of God visited Joseph in a dream and reassured him that
      she had not broken her vow of virginity, but rather that the child she
      now bore was the gift of God to all mankind. This child was the
      incarnation of God – the God/man; God for the first and only time in all
      of creation had taken flesh and become man that He might reveal Himself
      to us and that we might know Him and be restored to communion with Him.
      The angel then said to Joseph, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he
      shall save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus does indeed mean
      Savior. God knew that the root of our separation from Him was sin. It is
      sin that cripples us; it is sin that subjects us to corruption and
      physical death; it is sin that blinds the eyes and other senses of our
      souls so that we cannot see or perceive God as He is; it is sin that
      keeps us from finding God, that keeps us from looking for Him in the
      right place. God took flesh and dwelt among us in order to save us, to
      deliver us from sin so that the path to finding Him might again be open
      to us. God became man to deliver us from our sin and to restore us to
      Himself.

      The Gospel then goes on to recall the words of the prophet, “And His
      name shall be called Emmanuel – that is God with us” By this we know
      that this child, Jesus is not just another child – even a miraculous
      child. By this we know that Jesus is “God with us”. He is God incarnate,
      God Who has deigned for the first and only time to take a body of flesh
      and blood, God, Who wishing to restore us to our place with Him has come
      to be with us. This is the great message of Christmas – God is with us.
      We were lost in our sins, seeking to find God, but because we were
      blinded and crippled by sin we were unable to find Him. He therefore,
      acted to come to us, to find us, and to heal us by delivering us from
      our sin. God has become like us (without forfeiting or compromising His
      divinity) so that we might fulfill our created destiny to become like
      Him. God has come to be with us that we might be with Him. Today we
      begin the celebration of the birth of Christ, the coming of the God/man
      into the world. Today we prepare the path for the God man to come to us.
      Tomorrow on the feast of our Lord’s nativity, we can for the first time
      rejoice with all of creation in the good tidings brought by the angelic
      host that “God is with us!”



      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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