St. Matthew’s Sermon 12-24-2019

St. Matthew’s Sermon 12-24-2019
(Also St. Peter)
What Have You Come To See
From Luke’s Nativity Story

In the voice of Barshabba (Bar-shab-bah). Name given to one of seven shepherds of Luke’s Nativity found in the “Book of the Bee” compiled by Bishop Shelemon in the Aramaic language in the thirteenth century.

Wow, nice place ya got here! Much nicer than anything I’m used to; warm, dry; lit up like daytime; big too.
What beautiful flowers, and so many. I heard of things like this before but I never seen nothin’ like it.
Oh, forgive me; I should introduce myself. My name’s Barshabba; I’m recorded in that big collection of book y’all have; I think you call it the Bible? Is that right?
Well, I’m in there… well, not in name exactly, just about what I seen and did. Ya see, I’m just a no-account shepherd. Us shepherds, most folks don’t even know we exist since we spend all our time in the hills outside o’ town; yup, day and night, all year long, out there keepin’ an eye on the masters sheep for next t’ nothin’ in pay; only coming in when it’s time for shearin’ and sellin’. Yeah, out o’ sight, out o’ mind as they say; hah, like their wool and their mutton just shows up like magic in the marketplace.
And those that do know we’re around… well, let’s just say most folks don’t think too highly of us with our dirty, tattered clothes; (this here’s almost new; your pastor give it to me special, just for this occasion o’ commin’ to talk to y’all; and let me clean up, and trim up a bit so I could be presentable to y’all). Yeah us shepherds are thought of as the lowest of the low; well, maybe a rung or two above the lame, and the blind, and the lepers; but hey, those are beggin’ at the town gate so at least folks know they exist.
So tell me, what did y’all come out to see tonight? Bet ya didn’t come expectin’ to see me! (Laugh)
Seriously now, what did y’all come out to see?
Did ya come to see the one that will heal all those lepers and lame, and give sight to the blind?
Did ya come to see the one that’ll feed thousands with just a little bit o’ bread and then walk on water?
Did ya come to see the one who will have the power to cast demons out of the possessed?
Did ya come to see a new-born king; that’ll grow up to lead a great army and rid your nation of oppressive tyrants with a sword?
Did ya come to see the one that’ll save your soul from eternal torture in the fires of hell?
All well and good I guess. But let me tell ya what I came to see…
I came ta see the one an Angel of God came and told me about out there in the hills; that’s right, he didn’t come to the High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem; he didn’t come to the king in the palace out there by the Jordan; he came to me!
I came to see the one on whose account I was told that I am somebody; that in God’s eyes I do have account! Told me; this hopeless, hapless, miserable soul that no matter what everybody else thinks, God-Loves-Me!
Ya have any idea how that feels… t’ be lifted up like that? T’ feel the hand of God picking ya up out of the mud and wrappin’ his arms around ya and callin’ ya… “beloved”!
Well ya should, ‘cause that Angel told me that this good news of great joy is for all the people! And if God can love a loathsome creature like me, be assured God loves the least of you.

Merry Christmas!