"But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse and from its roots a bud shall blossom." (Isaiah 11:1, New American Bible)
“When you think you're at the very end, the rotten stump, in decay, something grows. You keep tending to the thing that seems dead or not working, and, with your tending, something new and beautiful sprouts up.”—Father Rick Frechette, in "Children's Champion", Financial Times, House & Home, December 17/December 18 2011, p.2. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/a5aadbee-226c-11e1-923d-00144feabdc0.html##axzz1gr9MuKu1
"Then a shoot shall grow from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall spring [Heb., bear fruit] from his roots." (Isaiah 11:1, New English Bible)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us... (John 1:14)
Th' angel went awei mid than/Al ut of hire sighte;/Hire womb arise gan/Thurw th'Oligastes mighte./In hir wes Crist bilok anon,/Sooth God, sooth man in fles and bon,/And of hir fles/Ibore wes/At time,/Warthurw us kam good won;/He bout us ut of pine,/And let him for us slon.
With that, the angel went away, out of her sight; her womb began to swell through the power of the Holy Ghost. In her Christ was straightway enclosed, true God and true man in flesh and bone, and of her flesh was born in due time, whereby good hope came to us: he redeemed us from pain [of hell] and allowed himself to be slain for us.
Angelus ad virgenum, 13th C. Arundel ms. English version. (tr. E. J. Dobson, adapted). In Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott, eds., The Shorter New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford, 1993) 7.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John 1:14)
See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them. (Revelation 21:3)
There is a stump out back,
behind the Sunday School
by the Boy Scout shed.
A tree was cut down last spring,
rotten in the core of it,
so down it came – and now look!
Go look! New growth is springing up
like crazy, like weeds, all over the place.
You never know with life, with God.
There was an old country that had been around too long,
said some. It had the heart
rotted out of it, nothing left to say,
nothing left to give—haul it away!
But somehow a stump gave birth to something new.
And emerging from that old ruin came new growth.
Out of the stump of Jesse sprang
a branch, bearing fruit—
(As the prophet Isaiah says, in chapter 11, verse 1:
Then a shoot shall growth from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall bear fruit from his roots.)
The old tree was Israel and the stump its old ways
of doing things— so when the prophet came,
bearing news of new growth, it was good news.
And when the angel came to Mary
centuries later, and said,
Hello! Favored one of God,
something new is happening.
Can you bear it?
Can you bring forth— give birth to—
the Son of God?
God plans for you to do it,
to be the bearer of God,
of new Grace
shone upon the world.
It’s up to you— will you bear it?
Will you bring forth the good news?
Mary was incredulous.
How can this be? A son?!
I’m only 15 years old—
and not married yet.
Oh, Mary, said the Angel.
With God anything is possible.
Your cousin Elizabeth, like Hannah
who bore Samuel in her old age,
you own cousin Elizabeth is pregnant,
with a son to be borne 3 months from now.
She’s six months along!
And so— will You bear the Child,
the One who will redeem
his people? And she said Yes.
An impossible answer to an
impossible request. Yes.
To all that will be, Yes.
And that is how it began.
With that the angel went away—
With that, the angel went away, out of her sight;
her womb began to swell
through the power of the Holy Ghost.
In her Christ was straightway enclosed,
true God and true man in flesh and bone,
and of her flesh was born in due time,
whereby good hope came to us:
he redeemed us from pain
and allowed himself to be slain for us.
This one, this child, was the eternal Word,
and in the flesh incarnate, come to dwell among us—
come to ‘pitch his tent’ with us—
to use the literal meaning of the word.
He came among us as of old
he walked alongside the caravans
of the people fleeing Egypt.
He walked among the trees of
the primordial Garden.
But here he is walking with us
as one of us! for the first time
taking on our poverty, setting his
wealth aside, not counting
his godhood a thing
to be grasped—
In this poor peasant girl
the richest of kings
found a home.
He’d promised he would
make a home for the
Son of David,
and establish his house forever,
But did he say he would
live in it himself?
Somehow now the Son of God
became Son of Man
and that is where our hope lives
as we live in him
and he in us
so that we too in turn are
becoming the home of Jesus.
Learn to welcome him
in the stranger;
to make him room,
and when we find him homeless,
TAKE JESUS IN
even as we need to make home
for his kin— the poor ones of Haiti
lost homes in the earthquake—
in them we see the face of Jesus
— and the need for shelter.
So too through all the projects
of good work through World Concern
(thanks for all the fish!)
ERD and others,
we seek to serve Christ in all persons
as our Baptismal Vows call us to do—
we seek to see in the homeless
and the forgotten
the One who made his home with us
the One whom Mary made home for,
in her womb,
bearer of God,
she bore him
who welcomes us home
whenever we stray from God
calling us to find our home in him.
May we open our eyes to see him.
May we open our homes to welcome him.
May we open our minds to know him.
May we open our lives to bear him.
May we open our hearts to be his home:
Jesus, Christ our Lord. Amen.