Dec 25 2013

The Word Became Flesh

The Word became flesh and lived among us and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) The word becoming flesh is the decisive event in human history. The incarnation changed God’s relationship to humanity and humanity’s relationship to God. Because of the incarnation, human beings could see, hear, and know God and his everlasting love in ways never before possible. Jesus is the Incarnate Word of God, the revealer of God’s purpose for humankind, and the giver of intimate access to God. This new thing that God has done is so dramatic because the story of Jesus in not only a story about Jesus. It is the story of God. God did not stay distant from the world he created and loved. In Jesus, who is the light of the world, God chose to live with and wrap himself up with all of humanity and its weakness, imperfection, pain, and darkness as well as with the goodness of humanity. As John said, “But to all who received him, believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God (John 1:12). Are we fully living into being children of God? What does God expect of us in this new relationship as a community of believers two thousand years later? Are we sharing the good news of God in Christ with others who may not know him? Are we meeting God through Christ incarnate in all of his children—including people who are hungry, the homeless teenagers who don’t know where they will sleep tonight, the incarcerated men and women in our prisons and their families, children unable to attend school in third world countries because of lack of clothing and supplies, the poor suffering along our border with Mexico, the undocumented mother at risk of deportation and separation from her U.S. born children, victims of domestic violence and human trafficking…Through the incarnation, we have become bearers of the light of Christ. Through the incarnation, we have become the hands and feet of Christ. As St. Teresa of Avila once said, ”Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world”.

 

Dec 05 2013

Jesus is the Son of What Kind of God?

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

We we Christians talk a lot about Jesus being the Son of God, but do we really think much about what kind of God would have Jesus as His Son?  People usually think of God in one of three ways.  (1) God as a separate judgmental being who will punish us if we don’t act right.  (2) God as a distant being who created the world and then left it to function without His intervention.  (3) God as an immediate and involved being who is intimately connected to His creation and is more concerned with expressing love than in doling out punishment.

Each view of God radically changes who His Son turns out to be.  If we think of God as separate, judgmental, and punishing, our view of Jesus is likely to be that he came to appease God and “pay for our sins.”  People with this view of God are likely to refer to God as “The man upstairs.”  If we think of God as a remote being who is not directly involved in His creation, then our view of Jesus is likely to be that he came from somewhere else, was on earth for a time, and then went back where he came from maybe to show up here again some day.  People with this view of God are likely to say “God doesn’t care about me.” or “God doesn’t care that bad things happen.”

If we think of God as a caring involved being more concerned with expressing love than doling out punishment, our view of Jesus is likely to be that he came to show us what the love of God looks like in a human being, he came to show us that God suffers along with us, and he came to draw us closer to being who we are designed to be.  People with this view of God are likely to say things like “Thank you God, for loving even a sinner like me.” or “How can I be more like Jesus?”

So, before we unthinkingly talk about Jesus as the Son of God, it is important to figure out who we think God is in the first place.  Who we think God is makes all the difference in who we think Jesus is.

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