December 11, 2016: “Scandalous Love”

Posted on : Dec 8th, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Prince Charming – aka Prince Harry – has set off another Royal Scandal. Prince Harry’s new girlfriend is the American actress Meghan Markle. Markle is divorced, describes herself as bi-racial, and is American! She is also sexy and beautiful. In addition to that, she is a great social activist. Prince Harry is also a social activist which is part of what draws them to each other. The only problem is the Royal family is supposed to marry “their own.” Queen Elizabeth II is actually the monarch today because her great uncle, Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry his lover, Wallis Simpson, who was a divorced American.  Queen Elizabeth’s father was next in line and became King. Upon his death, Elizabeth II became Queen.

So Harry is playing with fire. If he marries Meghan Markle, he would not be allowed to be King. Of course with Prince William and their two children ahead of him in succession to the throne, chances are slim that fate would ever befall him. But the story highlights the cost of scandalous love.

The Royals are not the only ones plagued by scandal and scandalous love affairs – the Bible is full of them. Good old King David, as in the one from whose family line we await the birth of Christ, had one scandalous love affair after another. He had many wives all at the same time.   One day he saw Bathsheba bathing. He had her brought to him and he seduced her.  He then cunningly had her then-husband placed on the very front line in battle. Oh my! He was instantly killed, preparing the way for David to take Bathsheba as yet another of his many wives. Yet even with all these beautiful wives, the one whom he loved more than any of these was not a woman, but a man: Jonathan. Scandalous Love!

The very idea of the Incarnation – a fancy term for God coming to us in human form or in flesh – is scandalous. No other religion in the world has God becoming human, fleshy. Usually flesh is not seen as good when you’re a god. Most gods are far above humans, so for the God of creation to become “fleshy” is pretty scandalous. In Mike Slaughter’s book, “A Different Kind of Christmas: Living and Giving Like Jesus,” he says: “The incarnation is the revelation of Gods’ scandalous love affair with humanity.”

Have you ever thought of the birth of Christ as God’s scandalous love affair with you? And me? And women? And Black Lives that do Matter? And undocumented immigrants? And evangelicals and liberals? And, and, and. . . ? What would it mean for us to love others “scandalously?” How would that be different form the safe, cautious ways we often show Christ’s love in the world?

A colleague of mine recently said that one of the beliefs of Progressive Christians is this: “Love is our God; kindness is our religion.” Now that’s scandalous love!

Blessings to you in this third week of Advent,

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Matthew 1: 18-24

The Birth of Jesus

Now the birth of Jesus took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by God through the prophet (Isaiah):

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.

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