Psalm 89: 1-4 & 19-26
LUKE 1: 47-55

December 20, 2020 4th Sunday of Advent

Did you hear the opening of the Word of God for the people of God this morning?  Today, in these moments of worship, has God’s Word reenergized you to a level that you just want to go out into the world to declare that GOD is GOOD … JESUS is more than a plastic figure in a manger scene … are you ready to shout it out? This morning did Mary in her song again inspire you and are you ready to let the HOLY SPIRIT get you and me making some … HOLY SPIRIT KIND of Noise whose crescendo’s will drown out the chaotic desperate words that the world wants you and me to accept as truth even amidst their lies!   Kirk Franklin calls it “some Holy Ghost Crazy Kind of Noise” … Do you know the feeling?   Have you had the feeling?  Are you ready to allow your faith to get you motivated with joy and do you sing?

Do you get that energy … come on people. … are you full of God’s energy?  Do you feel like jumping up and praising the Holy?   Does the Advent season not only fill you with anticipation but with a renewed energy that makes you want to sing … DO YOU SING … do you proclaim … do you praise … do you shout HOSANNA’s?  Are you out there – letting the world know … that the awesomeness of God that you know is real …. Do you declare to the world and to Almighty God … WE WORSHIP YOU … WE LOVE YOU …. HOSANNA … YOU ARE AWESOME!!  You gave us Jesus!!

Do you let your personal joy become a true message of JOY TO THE WORLD … THE LORD HAS COME and he ain’t going anywhere but those powers of evil … it’s time to send them home packing.  Are you singing the Christmas carols of faith with a louder and clearer voice than you sing the songs about your mom and Santa and the tree?

Are you ready this morning …. DECEMBER 20th in the year 2020 to declare today, now, in these moments of worship; in your homes and here in church … that the world is not going to beat you down … that you are ready to join me in praising GOD … declaring JESUS is more than the Christ name in a holiday filled with gift boxes … that you don’t spell CHRIST C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S but you do spell JESUS S-A-V-I-O-R and that brings you incredible joy and peace and hope!  Are you ready?  DO YOU SING?

This morning needs to be a step in our forever … our worship of God … our declaration that our loyalty is to Jesus Christ who was born under the brilliant star in Bethlehem 2000 years ago … you and me … wherever you are in the world … we can no longer afford not to worship God or to put other things or other people above our faith in the Holy… too many neighbors are clinging to the concept that they should worship a man and invest their time bowing down and accepting a man’s word raising a banner as if in war while denying the lessons of the Savior …. Church are you in denial of Jesus? …. Church DO YOU SING for God? … Do you sing for Jesus Christ? … Who are you proclaiming to the world this morning? … Whose name are you lifting up? … Who do you worship?

Can you declare with me …. WE WORSHIP YOU GOD … WE LOVE YOU GOD … YOU BROUGHT US JESUS …. to SAVE US … to GUIDE US … to RESCUE US from the storms of humanity … to GIVE US HOPE of a FUTURE not in a cloud of manmade confusion and despair but in the clouds of glory with the angels …

As Mike read from the Scriptures this morning did you pause in your stream of thinking … if you are at home … did you quiet the room … so that today’s Scripture lesson would sink in.  We close out the readings every week with the repeated statement THE WORD of GOD for the PEOPLE of GOD … THANKS BE TO GOD.   But, today on this Fourth Sunday of Advent was the reading relevant to where you are in your life? God’s Word?  Do you pause to listen when Scripture is read in church; really listen allowing the words to sink in?

Let’s begin with the Psalm of the day, which again is God’s Word for God’s people “I will sing of the Lord’s loyal love forever!  I will proclaim Your faithfulness with my own mouth from one generation to the next. That’s why I say YOUR loyal love is rightly built – forever!  You are my God; the rock of my salvation!”

The assignment of singing of the Lord’s loyal love was not given to a soloist … not to a choir nor to a rock band although all of them can bring us the songs of faith … all of them can deliver with majesty and power a blessing that impacts the lives of those who hear them but the ultimate assignment of singing the song of faith falls to individuals who believe; like you and me.   While we have our voices … while we have our ability to process the value of having God as the rock of our salvation … the joy that Paul reminds us that needs to be shared “REJOICE in the LORD ALWAYS again I say REJOICE” … we have an assignment that is an element of our faith walk … an aspect of Jesus’ teaching and expectations on those who follow Him … we are to make disciples …not just the preacher … not just the missionary … but each person of faith is to make disciples for the Kingdom with joy in our hearts, joy on our faces, clearly rejecting the world and embracing the Holy and we are to SING.   “Sing of the Lord’s loyal love forever …. Proclaim God’s faithfulness with our own mouths from one generation to the next!” Are the children and the grandchildren hearing the songs of faith … praises to God … or have we allowed them to be left out only the hear of Santa in this season because those songs are fun while the songs of faith are filled with joy and love?


Last night I was singing … perhaps you can see it in my attire this morning but in my life and the lives of thousands of other individuals has a direct connection to moments of joy.  In 1959 an R&B group, the Isley Brothers wrote a dance song called SHOUT.   You may have danced to it … you may have seen it in the movie Animal House but the simple words penned by O’Kelly Isley, Rudolph Isley, and Ronald Isley and the notes and rhythms of the song are an automatic memory and smile trigger to Buffalo Bills’ fans around the world.  After every touchdown or field goal scored by the Buffalo Bills at their home games that song is played … after every victory as fans leave the stadium that song is played.  Fans who don’t know each other dance together to that song … we high five each other and we sing with joy, with enthusiasm and with hope “The Bills make me wanna SHOUT!  Kick your heels up and SHOUT!  Thrown your hands up and SHOUT!  Throw your head back and SHOUT!  C’mon now, the Bills are makin’ it happen now … Stand up now, c’mon and shout! YEAAA-AAH!! YEAA-AAAH! Say you will … SHOUT IT RIGHT BABY … SAY YOU WILL… Buffalo’s happenin’ now, SHOUT we’re on the move now!  SHOUT … THE BILLS are happenin’ now!  They’re makin’ it happen … We’ve got the spirit … a lotta spirit … we’ve got the spirit … just watch it happen now! LETS GO BUFFALO!  The BILLS MAKE ME WANNA SHOUT!

Do you have the Spirit of God in you this morning that you want to shout?  Throw your hands up and shout?  Throw your head back and shout? Do God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit make it happen now in your life?

This morning we shared Mary’s song.  We need to remember that Luke is interviewing Mary after Jesus had lived out His life and returned to God to be seated at God’s right hand.   Mary had seen her son challenge the religious leaders as a 12 year old … she had been there in his teen years.  She took Him with her to the family wedding in Cana where His first miracle is recorded.  She then walked along side her Son, His disciples and others as they journeyed in ministry declaring the GOOD NEWS that was predicted in Isaiah … Jesus setting all of us free through God’s love.  Mary was there when the Son of God, her baby was crucified.

I often think of that song of faith “Were you there when they crucified my Lord … were you there when they crucified my Lord …” and yes, it makes me tremble, tremble.  But Mary was there … she watched, she cried out and screamed … and then three days later she saw Her son, Jesus … EMMANUEL, the PRINCE of PEACE … the Son of GOD .. our MESSIAH … alive and resurrected.

Luke sat down with Mary and started to ask her to share her story.   You see there was no one with a video recorder taping the newly pregnant Mary so her words from her song were shared with Luke later … and we hear in the story of the birth that Mary committed the shepherds visit and their sharing the the glory of God in the heavens we now sing about to memory and considered them carefully.

But it is in her song from Luke’s first chapter that we have a testimony of faith that reflects what our song should be.  This is a teaching moment from the Mother of Jesus …

Church … do you sing a song like Mary’s about your faith?  Have Mary’s Song touched you today and reminded you about who you are in relationship to the Son she gave life to.  For nine months she was living in anticipation of that miraculous birth remembering how the angel of God came to her … and she tells Luke:

With all my heart I glorify the Lord!  In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior!  He has looked with favor on the low status of His servant.  Look!  From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored … Holy is his name!  He shows mercy to everyone from one generation to the next who honors Him as God.”

And, the psalmist taught us …”I will sing of the Lord’s loyal love forever … I will proclaim Your faithfulness from my own moth from one generation to the next.  That’s why I saw “YOUR” loyal love is rightly built forever!”  The psalmist then predicted the birth of Jesus … but I will let you go back and read that.  You see today’s Psalm is one of anticipation and faith and praise … ADVENT TIME.

CHURCH … this morning do you sing?  Are you ready to shout, kick your heels up and SHOUT that you belong to JESUS CHRIST and JESUS is so much more than a baby?

Do you declare to the world and to Almighty God … WE WORSHIP YOU … WE LOVE YOU …. HOSANNA … YOU ARE AWESOME!!  You gave us Jesus!!

We have every right and reason to be full of joy … God’s perfect love should be blocking out our fears when we give ourselves to God and to Christ and let that Holy Spirit in!

JESUS CHRIST MAKES ME WANNA SHOUT … and SING? Does He do that for you too?  AMEN

© 2017- St. Paul's United Methodist Church, West Deptford, NJ