Friday Greetings — December 15

Dear Centenary friends,


One of my all time favorite Christmas songs is a "contemporary" spiritual composed by Robert MacGimsey and published in 1934.  Since then, it's been sung by everyone from Kenny Rogers to Casting Crowns - including, but not limited to, Andy Williams, Trisha Yearwood, and Anne Murray - but none of those very talented and well-known performers even comes close to the version recorded by Mahalia Jackson, who can really rip it up.  Google it, or go to YouTube, and listen to her sing it; you won't be disappointed.  But no matter who sings this song, the lyrics stand strong on their own:


Sweet little Jesus boy

They made you be born in a manger

Sweet little holy child

We didn't know who you were

Didn't know you'd come to save us, Lord

To take our sins away

Our eyes were blind, we could not see

We didn't know who you were


Long time ago, you were born

Born in a manger, Lord

Sweet little Jesus boy

The world treats you mean, Lord

Treats me mean, too

But that's how things are down here

We don't know who you are


You have told us how

We are trying

Master, you showed us how

Even when you were dying

Just seems like we can't get it right

Look how we treated you

But please, Sir, forgive us, Lord

We didn't know it was you


Sweet little Jesus boy

Born a long time ago

Sweet little holy child

We didn't know who you were.


Not that this is the only song highlighting the world's failure to recognize Jesus for who he was (and is):  there are lots of those, as even a quick trip through music history will demonstrate.  Why are there so many musical tributes to Jesus' unacknowledged or misunderstood identity?  Answer:  because it's a pervasive theme in the Scriptures, particularly in the Gospels.  It appears and reappears in Matthew, Mark, and Luke; but it's Forth Evangelist who really underscores the theme of The Unrecognized Jesus - from the opening verses of the Prologue to the closing words of the final chapter.  And it's right there waiting for us in this week's reading from the Gospel of John.


So, come to worship scripturally prepared!  This Sunday's Bible readings are Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 and John 1:6-8, 19-28.   Read both passages, and then ask yourself:  When has Jesus stood in our midst, and I failed to recognize his presence?  When has the presence of the Lord been revealed to me so powerfully that I could not miss it?  How can we set aside time and energy to seek the Christ wherever he may be found...and then reveal him to others?


Opportunities to "see Jesus and be Jesus" come to us day by day; but there's no better time to celebrate the One who "stands among us" (as John puts it) than when we're in worship together.

See you on Sunday!  


And speaking of Sunday, please remember:  if you desire to hear a traditional sermon (a sermon in words), then you'll want to come to the 8:30am or the 8:50am service.  The 11am service will be hearing a sermon in song, as the choir presents this year's Christmas Cantata, complete with orchestra.   Of course, you can always "double dip" by worshiping at one of the earlier services, and then returning at 3pm, when the Cantata will once again be presented.  Whenever and however you worship this Sunday, bring a friend or two with you...The Greatest Story Ever Told is way too good to keep to ourselves. 


Advent blessings,

Pastor Susan