Sermon: Trust & Faith.
Merry Christmas / Glaedelig jul!
It is Christmas morning and what a beautiful day it is! It is not just bright and sunny, because we are blessed to live in Sunny California, but it is bright, promising, full of grace and hope because of the words we just heard.
Through time God spoke to people in many various way, but in those days – as the Gospel tells us – in those days, when the mighty rulers of the world wanted to control and count, God spoke again through the song of the angels, through the shining star and through the child in the manger.
God speaks to us in various ways, but God always speaks to us in a different way than the mighty rulers of the world. God does not want to control or count, God wants to love us, grant us mercy, restore our lives, reconcile us, better us, and remind us that the fundamental fabric of our lives and of humanity is woven together by faith, hope and love. Not by control, decrees, or threats.
It was coming up to Christmas and little PETER asked his mom, if he could have a new bike. So, she told him, that the best idea would be to write to Santa Claus. But PETER, having just played vital role in the School nativity play, said he would prefer to write to Baby Jesus.
PETER went to his wrote and began writing: “Dear Baby Jesus, I have been very good boy and would like to have a bike for Christmas.”
But PETER wasn’t very happy when he read it over. So, he decided to try again and this time he wrote: “Dear Jesus, I am a good boy most of the time and would like a bike for Christmas.”
PETER read it back and still wasn’t happy, so he tried third version: “Dear Jesus, I could be a good boy, if I tried hard and especially if I had a new bike!”
PETER read that one too, but he still wasn’t satisfied. So, he decided to go out for a walk, while he thought about a better approach. After a short time, he passed a house with a small statue of the Virgin Mary in the front garden. He crept in, stuffed the statue under his coat, hurried home and hid it under the bed.
Then PETER sat down and wrote: Dear Jesus, if you want to see you mother again, you’d better send me a new bike!”
Little Peter might have been very fond of the branches on the tree with the Christmas Drum and he might have been really really set on getting a bike for Christmas. But he most certainly misunderstood the very concept of Christmas, and the very fabric of humanity.
True happiness, true humanity and true faith has nothing to do with threats or control. But it has everything to do with faith and trust.
Trust was sung out that first Christmas night so many years ago: “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those who he favors.” God favors us as his children I his creation, he trusts us, yes, he entrusted us with this wonderful world and life, to live in faith, hope and love. Thus, we must have built our human lives on basic trust in one another too.
This little book about TILLID, TRUST reflects on the topic trust among humans and specifically among Danes. And this book of books, the Bible, reflects on the topic trust among humans and in the second part, the New Testament, specifically among those of us who calls ourselves Christian and celebrate Christmas.
The shepherds on the fields outside Bethlehem trusted the star and the song of the angels, and they found joy, faith, and hope.
The wise men on the journey trusted the star and is light, and they too found joy, faith, and hope.
Mary and Joseph trusted the star, the words of the angel “Don’t be afraid” and they too found joy faith and hope.
They trusted that that child, that new beginning, that song, that star and that unspeakable joy in their hearts, was a deep deep love declaration from God to the world and to them. They trusted that this world, this time, this life was indeed good and blessed.
This small book on TRUST describes how basic TRUST is in all our interactions, relations, and connections. To have trust I one of the fundamental attitude in our relations to God as our creator and comforter, but even more to our fellow humans. To have trust is a vital part of the fabric of being a human being.
The Danish Theologian K.E. Logstrup talked about the so-called sovereign expressions of life. This category included the concepts of mercy, openness of speech and trust. These – mercy, openness, and trust – presents themselves to us according to Logstrup as intrinsically good.
Logstrup claims that trust is not of our own making: it is given to us. We might claim that is imbedded in the very DNA of being a human, or we might claim that is imprinted in us through our Christian Culture.
But whiter we claim that is biological or cultural commissioned, our lives are so constituted that it cannot be lived except as one person lays himself or herself open to another person by showing or claiming trust. By our very attitude to another we help to shape not only our own world but the others too.
The mighty rulers of the world will claim that “Trust is good, but control is better.” But at Christmas time and at any given time the Christian counter speech must be: “Control might be good, but trust is even better and less expensive.”
The mighty Emperor Augustus wanted to control and count his people, while the shepherds and the wise wanted to find God and the meaning and purpose of live, and thus trusted a star, a word, and a song – and they found their way.
Trust is so important for our wellbeing, our happiness, and our humanity. Trust is woven into the fabric of faith to expel fear, anxiety, and hate.
It truly is so sad that, so many seem to have lost trust these days.
Many do not trust the media, but talk about fake news.
Many do not trust their politicians or the public intuitions, but mistrust all structures of politician expressions.
Many do not trust their neighbor to be trustworthy, loyal, or honest, but install alarms, cameras, and sensors.
Many do not trust the words of the abused, or the words of the accused.
Many go to courts, get into quarrels and disputes because of the lack of trust.
We are engulfed like never in a culture of public shaming, distrust, and disrespect, then in a sound culture of civility, respect, and trust.
Dwight Eisenhower said: “The world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
Another very wise man who just happened to be Danish once said:
“It is very seldom that you meet a Dane with a knife in his hand without a fork in the other.”
This is a very fine way to describe trust. You don’t need to be afraid that someone will attack you, if they have both knife and fork in their hands.
Mostly we have – literally and metaphorically knives forks in our hands as Danes. But also as Christians.
We would rather trust each other and sit down at a mutual table and enjoy food, fellowship and hygge.
Because as the angels sang, as the shepherds saw, as the wise men found and as the world believed: a child is born, let us go to find him, adore him, and believe in him.
Let it be our Christmas Promise and Christmas Song, that we trust. We trust God who created the world to be our home of goodness and love, God who send us his son to remind us about love, hope, faith, forgiveness, and God who manifest himself as the Holy Spirit in us and around us to instill basic trust in all of us.
In God we trust. And we trust that this life, this time, these opportunities, and blessings are given to us. We trust that life is indeed good and we can always try to make it better.
Control might be good, but trust is always better.
The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.