Sunday, December 18, 2016

Advent - Chain Reaction

Photo credit: moses namkung
God—the one who made all things and for whose glory all things exist—wanted many people to be his children and share his glory. So he did what he needed to do. He made perfect the one who leads those people to salvation. He made Jesus a perfect Savior through his suffering.

Jesus, the one who makes people holy, and those who are made holy are from the same family. So he is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. He says,

“God, I will tell my brothers and sisters about you.
Before all your people I will sing your praises.”


You may recall that in the first essay of this series we asked what was so desperately important to God that he felt compelled to throw himself into such a drastic, audacious plan as this. And we found, mind blowing as it may seem, that we were what was so important to him. "God so loved the world..." That's us! We are the prime motivation of the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

But this still begs the question, "What is it about humans that makes God regard us as so incredibly valuable?" The answer I believe is found in today's scripture.

The whole purpose of Jesus' nativity was to set off a chain reaction of millions and millions of other nativities. God created the Earth as an incubator where we flawed blobs of mud could be invested with the never-ending life of God and grow up into his very children, at home in "glory" -- the state God lives in.  And he was not about to let any power or persuasion prevent that from taking place.

We sometimes think of our ultimate destinies as perhaps drifting along eternally in some happy paradise or becoming angels, but it is far, far greater than that. As the writer and thinker C S Lewis said, "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit -- immortal horrors or everlasting splendours, (The Weight of Glory, page 46).

Or as St. Athanasius put it, simply,"God became man so that man might become god," (On the Incarnation, chapter 54 verse 3).

Of course, there are ways we will never be like God: We will never be eternal, for instance, since we had a beginning and God did not.  But as Jesus' emissary John pregnantly put it, "Dear friends, we are now children of God. We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future. But we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him. We will see him just as he is," (First Letter of John, chapter 3 verse 2, ERV).

Today in church -- or anyplace, really -- take a second to look around you. You are are surrounded by dozens and dozens of people going through their own nativities, who are among the sons and daughters Jesus is leading to glory. And "he is not ashamed to call them his brother or sister."

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Prayer: Pioneer of our salvation, please continue to lead us through this incarnational journey until we are resurrected into your brilliant glory.  In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

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