Lectionary: First Sunday after Christmas Day
Sermon text: Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16; Luke 2:25-40
Excerpt: I don’t know how many of you ever actually lived in another country. I don’t mean visited there, I mean lived there. Probably those of you in the military haven’t had the same experience, because when you’re in the military and you go to another country, you kind of carry America with you. You’ve got the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, whatever, you go and bring America with you. When you go to live in another country, as a foreigner, an alien, an expatriate, as someone outside your homeland, it’s a weird thing. You know, from everything you see and everything you smell and everything you taste and everything you hear, this is not your place. You don’t really belong. And even those people who live in foreign countries for generations, for years and years, for decades there’s always that distance, that disconnect between where they are and where they come from. And one of the things that we know all foreigners do, no matter what country they’re foreign in, is they try to bring something comforting. In most cases, that’s food. And when you live in another country, you find those little tastes of home remarkably comforting.
Before I lived in Kiev, I hardly ever went to McDonald’s. But there are McDonald’s [inKiev] and they’re not exactly the same, but they’re close. And I would eat at McDonald’s at least once or twice a week because it was like home. And then somebody opened this restaurant called the New York Deli. It wasn’t a deli. It was nothing like a deli. But I would go and have French onion soup and a club sandwich. It was as close to French onion soup and club sandwich as you’d get anywhere around here. Just for that little bit, it would make me feel better. People from America would cluster in these places. If you went to one of these places, you knew that were probably going to hear somebody speaking English. As a native speaker.
And this is what people do. They try to find that place, that taste of home, and bring it to them. Certainly I did, to survive Kiev. That’s why there are places like Chinatown. That’s why, all over the city of Birmingham, you can go in restaurants, and people who speak Spanish or Korean or Hindi or Pakistani or anything else are in there speaking their languages, reading their newspapers, eating their food, and looking at people who look like them. Because it makes them feel better.
Today we’re going to depart from the readings and look at Hebrews chapter 11.