Monday, December 28, 2015

Word made Flesh...




THE READING for the Second Sunday of Christmas comes to us from the Gospel According to Saint John. The church of John began with a Prologue. Within these introductory words, the divine nature of the child Jesus as the Word of God was revealed.
 As we try to wrap our minds around these thoughts, consider how God proceeded to save us through the dual nature of Jesus. We read...

IN THE beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 
 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 
 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 bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'") 
  And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. (John 1:1-18)

An Introduction…
As we look to the first chapter of the Gospel According to Saint John, we see the editorial seam between vs.18: and vs.19. This may be why our lectionary planners halted the recommended reading at v.18. This first section, known as the Prologue, performed the same function for ancient reader as a preface or introduction in today’s books. A scribe in the church of John, in final edit as claimed by some biblical scholars, made comment about the meaning of what is going to be encountered by our continuing in the text.
 After this section, the historical unfolding of salvation began. But, lest we pass over this profound text too quickly, we need to note that some words echo. We hear, “In the beginning… “ This phrase points us backward in time to the very beginning when God spoke all of creation into existence. Referring us to Genesis 1:1, the editor makes a connection to the Jewish roots of this gospel message. The words remind us concerning the creative act of God. The author contended here that the Word which spoke to will all things into existence was... and is yet… truly God. Astoundingly however… the Word revealed here by the community of John, was described as the conversation unfolded in wondrous prose. The Word becomes described as a person who became flesh. Within those words that describe the Word, a miraculous event is thus revealed. John tells us of a miraculous event where our finite scientific and philosophical human constructs fail. I repeat here for emphasis…
“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.” 
Take special note here... John contends, and we the church echoes... that Almighty God became flesh! Thus we have here in John’s Prologue a great theological affront to human logic. In our human terms, it cannot make sense... the Infinite became finite! It’s much like forcing a wagon load of wheat onto a two pound shovel. God had in infinite power made the impossible possible!
 However, in trying to wrap our sinful and finite minds around these words… we are driven by the Spirit to ask whether God can work in reverse? For our sake, or for the sake of his Word, will God make the finite Infinite? The answer is important to we sinful finite beings.
 Addressing the question, John through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit gave us answer. We, his unlearned and finite readers, have a hint of the expanse of eternal and all encompassing Love…
“And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
We especially note in this quote, the word “grace”. In abundant and grace-filled love God acted in regard to the sin that is found enslaving human history. In fullness we have been given grace. We who are finite, have the hope of bring Infinite. Note in that according to scripture, that the Word combined two natures in one person. Jesus, at once and at the same time… was born both human and Divine.

Two Natures...
Jesus was and yet is both the human Christ and the eternal Word of God. Jesus was raised by Mary and Joseph and spoke as a young man to the religious of his day. But most importantly, as the Word made flesh he completed the work of salvation for our sake. Out of divine love, our Creator and Infinite God came to this finite piece of space dust and was as His Son crucified, died and was Resurrected. God freely exercised infinite Love... for surely God is indeed infinite Love!
 To save us while we are yet trapped in our sinful and egotistical natures… even we who have a sure history of exercising the unmitigated gall to think that we are the hosts and rulers of this world… may be saved by the gift of grace. We need only to surely accept the gift! Even if in our finite wisdom we should begin to realize that through His Word poured out through Christ Jesus, our Lord, the person of God was born into this world to save people, we are given hope. In this finite world drenched in sin and being deceived by evil adversary we may be saved! We, as sinful usurpers needed a Savior, and Jesus came to save us
 You see, God reversed the tables on us. We need not entertain and feed God to get his attention. God became the Host for us! Jesus Christ our Lord became finite, died and then rose again. He thus demonstrated that the finite sinner may be granted the gift to become infinite. We can abide with God!  Jesus sacrificed himself upon the cross as payment for our acceptance at his table. Jesus defeated for us the claims of evil… and even yet now works to make us more than sinners through the Holy Spirit.
 As we who are baptized receive the Sacrament of the Table then, let us know that Jesus is certainly the Host of the Holy Meal. He comes to us providing us with forgiveness by the power of the Spirit. Our Lord so ministers among us today. He provides us with his power, so that we might tell the good news and bring others to the feast. This is the presence of the Word in our lives and the power of God for all to consider.

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