18.12.08

the word on the street

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 came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. what has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it...and 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.

if i had to choose my favourite part of the bible, i think this probably comes right up there with genesis 12, isaiah 40, micah 6 and luke 4, well there are so many....

but this one for me is probably at the heart of my own discipleship, about what it means to follow the christian God, as distinctive from any other god who might have dibs on my worship. i don't think that there are any words that bring me more comfort from scripture than 'and the word became flesh and lived among us'. if i ever need anything to meditate on, then these are the words (and the word) that come to mind.

quite often in evangelical circles you hear the idea that, well, christmas is okay but, well, we all know that easter's where it's really at. that christmas is really just a way of getting to easter. well, of course, in one sense this is true, there is no death without birth, and goodness me, we need christ's death, don't we? but the beauty of the incarnation is surely much more than a means to an end? tertullian in his argument against marcion says this:

beginning then with that nativity you so strongly object to, orate, attack now, the nastinesses of genital elements in the womb, the filthy curdling of moisture and blood, and of the flesh to be for nine months nourished on that same mire.…you shudder, of course, at the child passed out along with his afterbirth, and of course bedaubed with it…This natural object of reverence you, marcion, bespittle: yet how were you born?... If these are the constituents of man whom God has redeemed, who are you to make them a cause of shame to him who redeemed them, or to make them beneath his dignity, when he would not have redeemed them unless he had loved them?

what fab language - but it also says something quite important, that conception, and pregnancy, and labour, and birth, and after-birth...these were all part of the way that it had to happen. and jesus didn't come like this in spite of it all, but because of it. christ came as a proper human being, not somehow magicked into the world, but rather braving all the dangers of childbirth along with the rest of us. he came into a world where human relationships were as likely to damage him as nourish him, into a broken world to become a broken person. and he didn't wear his human flesh like a garment, but actually took it all - the dirt, the danger, the brokenness and disobedience - some of it just what it means to be human, some of it needing healing, some of it needing hope, some of it needing direction. he took it all. all of it. all.

word of God, God with us, God saves - jesus

1 comment:

karen said...

Hey Jody - are you ok? you haven't posted for quite a while.