Friday, December 22, 2006

The Messiah from Bethlehem, continued

For the immediately preceding post in this series on preparing a sermon / homily on Micah 5 (Advent 4, Year C), click here. (Also, can we have some comments on this Sunday's text from Micah? Mere musings? Pretty please?)



Micah understands God’s Messiah to be a humble, peripheral figure from an overlooked sector of society. He will rule in complete dependence on the strength and majesty of his God and be concerned only with nurturing God’s flock (Micah 5:4), not with personal enrichment and aggrandizement.


According to Psalm 78, King David was originally such a figure. God took him from the rural countryside, “from tending the nursing ewes,” and “brought him to be the shepherd of his people.” Thereafter, “with upright heart he tended them,” and “guided them with skillful hand” (78:71–72).

It is no coincidence that Micah and the Asaph Psalms (including Ps 78) are from the same stream of theological tradition in the Bible.

5 Comments:

Blogger PamBG said...

Hmm, musings. Most of the commentaries I'm using are going along the same lines that you are. There is a stunning quote in "Texts for Preaching" (Cousar, Gaventa, McCann & Newsome) that I'm opening with: "The God of Israel is a God of shimmering surprises, of outlandish innovation and renewal."

I'm connecting the Micah reading with the Gospel reading (The Visitation and the Magnificat) to say that God is a God of the "little ones" and the lowly. Little, insignificant Bethlehem, shamed Elizabeth, a totally improbably mother for the Son of God (you'd think the Father would have picked a more respectable and experienced parent).

I have loads of sermons about God's upside down Kingdom but my congregation has heard them before! Have to figure out a new way to say it.

I like the comment in one of the commentaries (I think it was from the "Interpretation" series) that the Magnificat summed up Old Testament teaching. Especially Luke 1:52: "He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly."

That's not strictly a comment on the Micah text only, sorry.

Fri Dec 22, 01:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Thanks. It's always interesting to me that despite the Song of Hannah (behind the Magnificat), and despite Micah 5, and despite many other OT Scriptures, it was so hard for Jesus' disciples and the larger crowds to understand the nature of Jesus' messiahship of frailty and brotherhood! I guess we humans are so thick-headed that the message of "frailty as strength" really does have to be repeated in constantly new ways. ---SLC

Fri Dec 22, 02:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger PamBG said...

it was so hard for Jesus' disciples and the larger crowds to understand the nature of Jesus' messiahship of frailty and brotherhood! I guess we humans are so thick-headed that the message of "frailty as strength" really does have to be repeated in constantly new ways.

Absolutely!!! And people do still look at one askance when one brings them truly good news! For some it's "Surely God can't be THAT good? Can He???!??" (One of the blessings of having an elderly congregation!) Others seem to get upset that they aren't hearing messages about how God is trying to squash people who misbehave.

Fri Dec 22, 03:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Chuck H said...

Dr C,

Sorry to be so late in blog-comments. Had unexpected lazik (sp?) surgery this AM.

I'm preaching on Micah - inspired by you and my desire to open the parish to other voices & text. The rector asked me, "Aren’t you going to say anything about Mary?"

Adele says she liked what I have prepared to preach & for the first time, we will be together at the 7:45 am Sunday service.

"Thanks" for your wonderful blog which helps all who have questions and feelings about scripture - with an OT swing!

Merry Christmas!
Chuck & Adele

Fri Dec 22, 08:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Hi Chuck & Adele,
We just got a card from you all in the mail! Thanks for this comment, and the encouraging word that you are preaching on Micah! I'm sure that it will go swimingly. Do send us a copy or excerpt for posting, or word of any reactions you get. Merry Christmas, ---S.

Sat Dec 23, 08:12:00 AM GMT-5  

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