We live in a world with so much to see. There is so much that our brains actually play a large role in filtering out what we don't seem to need at the moment. Because of that, we may miss something which is very important - but that the habits of mind we have don't let us notice. In our baptismal covenant, we are charged to seek out the face of Christ in all persons. The fact remains, we see many people and they amount to little more than blank faces to us in the end. Yet, each one has the capacity to speak to us of Christ. Is this what John the Baptizer understood when he "saw Jesus walking by and said to his disciples, 'There is the Lamb of God'"???
Maybe. Maybe it's a reminder that we need to have different eyes - and to train our habits of mind to have different filters so that we can see "The Lamb of God" wherever he might appear to us - in the kind gesture given to someone else, in the destitute person we notice on the street corner, in the young girl pushing a stroller with a weeks old infant. Wherever he may be . . .
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Saint Irenaeus spoke about the importance of the incarnation (or the enfleshment) of God in Jesus of Nazareth as an absolutely essential part of our coming to know God, to experience the love of God, and to realize the promises of God. It all makes sense when we begin from the assumption that we need to experience God in human terms -- otherwise God remains a far off reality, unrelated to our human experience. It isn't enough that Jesus of Nazareth became human, either, because that was over 2000 years ago -- how am I able to experience a God who is supposed to be present to me through a human that lived long before I was born? The proper theological answer is that I experience God I'm the Risen Lord. True enough. But then, how do I experience the Risen Lord? The answer to that is what makes this incarnation stuff important. We experience the Risen Lord in one another -- as each of us becomes likened to Christ, we can speak Christ into the world and we can experience that Christ in one another. So Christmas isn't so much about the baby in the manger - it is about my ability to know and experience God in the flesh - the flesh and blood of my neighbor in the world - in all of their imperfection. Knowing and experience God then demands that I experience more and more of the people who live in the world. With each added person, I get a better glimpse of the God who has loved us so.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
New International Version (NIV)
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
For an audio version of the sermon from last Sunday, Click here