St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri

Saturday, January 1, 2022New Year’s Day

The 8th day of Christmas
The Holy Name of Jesus Luke 2:15-21The Holy Name of Jesus
Collect: Eternal Father you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray,, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 4:4-7 When the fulness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a child, then also an heir, through God.

Philippians 2:5-11 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and evert tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Slave vs Child
This is fascinating. I don’t know if you saw it. But in both of these letters by Paul, the Pharisee, he refers to ordinary human beings as “slaves” of God. Some translations soften it to “servants,” but humans simply exist to serve, obey and worship the Deity. It does NTO imply abuse on the part of God It is simply that in his view, God is God and humans are humans and that is all there is to it.
There is no assumption on his part that people are automatically “children of God.” That was especially true of Gentiles, who had, in his mind, no claim on God at all. And yet, in Christ Jesus, we have received “adoption” – with the legal status and rights of a birth-child, and heirs, with the Lord Jesus. That is astonishing, or would be, if we didn’t take it for granted
And conversely, Jesus, equal to God before his Incarnation, didn’t cling to that privilege, nor did he exploit it against us – but instead he set it down and became one of us, joined with us in the human experience of obedience to God – all the way to death.
There is now no God who is free of humanity, and no humanity that is not filled with God.Luke 2:15-21“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what ha been told them about this child; and all wo heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”

Circumcision In the Eastern Church that is the name of today’s feast – which is also when a child is named.
Jesus was circumcised like all Israelite boys – to make him a member of the people of God – to mark him physically, forever, in a Greek-speaking, Roman dominated world as “other” – as a Jew. Families continued to circumcise their sons all through Jewish history, even in times of the worst oppression, because that identification mattered – even when it was despised. There are true stories of Jewish women insisting on circumcising their babes even during the holocaust – even when they might have “passed” as Gentiles. This is why baptism was often compared to circumcision – although an invisible mark – it is also a permanent one.

Jesus The child was given the name, “Jesus. “But why that name?” Jesus” in Hebrew, is Yeshuah – in English: Joshua – the name of the Old Testament leader of the Israelites after the death of Moses. It means, “God is salvation” – or “Yah (God) and the verb “yasha” – rescues/delivers/ or saves. “In the Greek of the New Testament, it became Iesous – which became – Jesus.
The name was popular in first century Judea, which is why he is distinguished by saying, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
English speaking people have been reluctant to use “Jesus” for their children, but Spanish-speakers and other have not been so anxious about it -However, “Joshua” is quite common, among Christians who may not not know that they are still using Jesus’ Hebrew name!

“God saves” “God redeems” “God rescues” “God delivers”
Jesus and Emmanuel – God is with us.



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