Sermon summaries and audio files
Eckardtesian Thought: I think, therefore I write . . .
To a world that did not deserve him, he came. To a people who sat in darkness, he came. To a sinful race, a company of murderers, a host of idolaters, a mass of ungrateful people, a cloud of proud, selfish, ugly, profane, corrupt, abominable sinners he came.
To you he came. For you were once darkness, you were born of this same color, this same race, this detestable, horrid world of sinners. And you still are drenched in this filth, according to the word and judgment of God. To you, nonetheless, and notwithstanding all of this, he came.
To you, and your world of hatred and murder, he came in love.
To you, whose hearts are made of the same stuff, which is why – it’s pointless to try to deny this, for you must know yourself – you find your heart thinking first of yourself, your needs, your own safety, your happiness. And this selfishness is contrary to your having been created in the image of God. For God’s image includes goodness and kindness and self-sacrifice, the very opposite of self-preservation, of selfishness. Still, to you, O sinful man, he came.
Note the jarring incongruity here between the darkness of Lent and the light of his coming. See today, simply, that the images here are veiled, symbolizing the depths of Lent’s sorrow over sin; and yet, we have white paraments symbolizing the joy of his holy conception in the Blessed Virgin’s womb. This jarring double message bespeaks the double message of your sin on the one hand and God’s mercy on the other.
For today we commemorate and celebrate the moment of his coming. It is a foretaste of Christmas, exactly nine months before it, when the angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to bear the Christ, the son of David, the son of the Most High, the Savior of the world. At this moment she conceived him in her womb. Let the heavens rejoice, and let all the earth give thanks for this blessed moment! Behold! He came!
And consider the marvel of this virgin conception. For its very special and unique manner was a further and undeniable testimony to the power and grace of God alone. Not only did he come to an undeserving world; he came utterly by his own power and strength, with no help at all from any of us. How could we help him anyway? We were too lost in our own corruption!
So now consider the miracle of this. In the first place, consider the marvel of every conception! The conception and birth of every child is miraculous, is it not? Do we not find ourselves pondering in awe the wondrous procreation of life among us, such as it is? Do we not marvel at the birth of every one of our own children? Do we not find it beyond all thought and imagination that children are somehow brought forth from the wombs of mothers? No science, no research, no brilliance ever found in the most clever and genius of minds has ever explained this wonder! Babies! Wherever do they come from? The two shall become one, it is true, but how? How is there life in a seedling? Or in an egg? How does their joining bring life to pass? How do two half cells coming together burst into one that begins to multiply itself and grow and develop and finally become born? How? How does this all work? The miracle of life itself has left us all without a reasoned explanation.
And now, consider this conception! Mary had not known a man! There is no seed from an earthly father here, no conjoining of two, no cells from two. This is what Mary’s virginity means. How is this possible? As she herself said to the angel: How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? Never before or since has a single mother conceived a child in her womb without a man. Never! Except here. So what does it mean in this instance, in this most important instance, that two shall become one? For in this case there is only one human being, one woman, without a man, one woman who passively receives and plays no active role at all. How, then, do two become one? Behold: in this case One came down from heaven, and clothed himself fully in the flesh of man. And so in Christ, God and man are become one, by the power of the Holy Ghost alone. For the Holy Ghost came upon the Virgin, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her, and therefore also that holy thing which was born of her was called the Son of God.
So in this case two became one indeed! But not two human beings; rather, God and man, yet without violating the virginity of the woman! This holy incarnation has brought heaven and earth together, never to be parted. And this was done alone by divine power and grace, and is the fullest revelation of the love of God toward men. The God of all glory, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Maker of all things, has joined himself to man. And the two have become one!
And this makes one thing abundantly, unmistakably, undeniably true: he came to us all on his own, without any merit or worthiness in us. He was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made Man.
And now you, O man, you are here invited to participate fully in this wondrous unity. For before you is the Blessed Sacrament! This Christ, who was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made Man, also was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried: all for you. To be your Savior from your wretched fallenness. His holy body, the fleshly body of God, was crucified; his precious blood, the human blood of God, was shed: the substance of your flesh, bound forever to the Son, was offered to the Father, to pay what you owe, and to bring you back to your maker. And he who rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, is here now, in this place; this same sacrificed body and blood, is offered to you, to bind you to God, in this Blessed Supper. And just as he who is God from everlasting has become man, so now you who are from a sinful and fallen race and from a fallen world, become partakers in the divine nature. Marvel at this, than which no mystery could be greater! And set aside the idolatries of your heart, the dreadful darkness of your own wicked designs, the corruption of your race of proud, selfish, ugly, profane, and abominable men; yes, your own selfish ambitions, all of them. Set them aside, and return to your Creator; be reunited here with him, for it is written that the two shall become one. Receive here your Christ and his mercy, the forgiveness of your sins, eternal life, and everlasting salvation. Audio is here. Video is here.