We could take the front page of any newspaper and find these headlines somewhere
Gun Crime problem , Foreign troops occupy our land, People desperate to know the future seek guidance from horoscopes and fortune tellers, Banks on the edge of collapse, payday money lenders in high interest rate rates row.
Like a high calorie sandwich The reading from Isaiah has four fillings
1. Full of superstition v6
2. Full of silver and gold v7
3. Full of horses and chariots v7
4. Full of idols v8
This is a political, religious, financial and sociological appraisal of a people in trouble.
So I am with Desmond TuTu when he say He once said,
“Those who say that politics and religion should not mix do not read the same
Bible as I do.”
For at the heart of the issue for Isaiah is one of trust.
The people no longer trusted God or the prophets so they went calling on those who would tell them what they wanted to hear. It always easier to listen to someone telling you something you would like to hear, want to know, rather than the truth or what you need to know. How good I am is easier to listen to than did you know you need to change.
So let me first talk about misplaced trust.
Misplaced Trust They put their trust in foreign armies v6 and armies of their own rather than trust in Gods promises to them and the covenant’s he made with them.
Missplaced trust in Money It is always seems better to trust our now and our future to money v7 that seem s to be there and then possibly gone the next minute but we are never sure if the money belongs to us ort someone else.
Misplaced trust in Idols For the people who Isaiah had in his sights exchanged a relationship with God who promised them that he would be there God and they would be their people. Here and now just seems plain daft. To trade the real thing for something fleeting wooden unable to bring life to people and communities to trust a wooden idol
The headlines above could be the headlines of today.
Communities today that collude with laws and gunmen that kill our children misplace their trust in cold steel and bullets. They choose not to trust each other opting for gun, power and individual freedom over community service and relationships between neighbour. Misplaced trust
Banks that will not work with or trust poor communities to provide finances to lone parents and poor families. Allowing others to move into the space in our communities that offer high interest rates of debt that will and is choking families. Banks and government would rather trust algorithms and bonus driven traders that would deceive us in thinking there is much money in the land but for who? Misplaced trust
We are a people so driven by consumerism to buy and to spend is the purpose of life what we own becomes our idol our god. Trust anything with a USB plug on it with a brand or logo that we are sure will be out of date in season. Misplaced trust in branding and add filled fleeting dreams.
We are a people so desperate for direction and hope for the future we will seek direction in anything from horoscopes to clairvoyants. Prostituted trust.
We in our own time have seen trust mishandled by police armies’ politicians and church. That does not mean we abandon the opportunity to trust again.
Many of us will have experienced misplaced or broken trust in relationships that till this day hurt us and sting like an open sore. But that should not mean that should be our framework for life to come today tomorrow.
This child Jesus who came to Mary born out of obedience, miracle and trust in God.
Place by John in his gospel as cosmic event the light he speaks of is the light of a different way of living to the one on offer then and now. God the Father trusting his only Son to a badly organised family unit, trusted into the arms of an ill prepared mother, trusted to a community with poor hospitality, trusted to a country under occupation fleeing to a foreign land, trust, trust, trust far too much trust for God you would think .
Jesus came to be worshiped and trusted. Jesus came to speak to authority that could not be trusted. Jesus came under occupation to show how to live with money guns and oppression to offer alternative to misplaced trust. Jesus came to shine a light on those idols and gods that mean so much to us.
If you have trusted Jesus in the past you might know how rewarding and difficult that can be. It is possible the New Year will offer new opportunities to identify misplaced trust in our lives and our church community. It is possible the New Year will offer news ways of trusting our now and our future to a life shaped by Jesus.
Since delivering this Christmas day sermon I have been encouraged to reflect on how I can trust to a life shaped by Jesus in the new year . will we do this together?