After all the hubris of 2017 the simplicity of Isaac’s sermon seems particularly poignant and relevant for us.
This Nativity night bestowed peace on the whole world;
So let no one threaten;
This is the night of the Most Gentle One – Let no one be cruel;
This is the night of the Humble One – Let no one be proud.
Now is the day of joy – Let us not revenge;
Now is the day of Good Will – Let us not be mean.
In this Day of Peace – Let us not be conquered by anger.
Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake;
So, rich one, invite the poor to your table.
Today we receive a Gift for which we did not ask;
So let us give alms to those who implore and beg us.
This present Day cast open the heavenly doors to our prayers;
Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.
Today the DIVINE BEING took upon Himself the seal of our humanity,
In order for humanity to be decorated by the Seal of DIVINITY.
— St. Isaac Syrian, Nativity Sermon, 7th century
Winter is here. Our local homeless shelter had their first “warming shelter” night where they opened the local community kitchen up overnight for people to come in from the inclement weather. This morning their were several more people in attendance there for our weekly Morning Prayers & Eucharist Service.
In Saint Francis’ day, on a cold night, many took what advantage they could of a big medieval community oven. The stones held the heat from the fire well into the evening, so people found shelter huddling together in the oven. However, as the oven became more crowded the more some complained. Perhaps Francis was tempted to complain as well, instead as he looked around he saw in the ruined faces of the homeless the faces of the brothers and sisters of Christ, and in fact, the face of Christ himself.
In a couple of weeks on December 21st we’ll hold a Memorial Service for those in the Homeless Community who have departed this year. Anyone who has lost someone dear to them, or who is facing their own vulnerability can more easily relate, understand, or have compassion.
Remember the vulnerable.