Saturday, December 1, 2012

Blog # 214 Advent - d

Blog # 214 Advent - d

                 Could you ever imagine that God would be sitting on the ground calling a puppy over to Himself to play with Him?

           Yes, that is hard or impossible to imagine. Yet that is exactly what we believe of Jesus, a divine Person, who came among us as one of us, capable and willing to share our life on earth, yet keeping His identity as God. Jesus grew hungry and tired. He ate our fish and fell asleep on a cushion on Peter's boat. He had to walk from Jerusalem to Jericho. He enjoyed the puppies of His day. Yet Jesus is God! In Jesus was all that we know of the human within ourselves other than our sins. Yet the PERSON called Jesus is Divine! As one of us, Jesus does invite us to follow His example of human goodness, generosity, mercy, humility, and prayer. But as divine He invites us to share by faith God's very Life/Love through with and in Him in a very real way. We are invited to experience in Him not just a better human life but a new life in addition to our natural human life. Born "from above" by faith, we are a new creation, God's holy temple, the body of Christ, branches on a vine. ( Jn 3:11; Jn 1:11ff. 1Cor 6: 19; Gal 2:20; 2Cor 5:17; Rom 12: 3ff; 1Cor 10: 17; Jn 15; 5. and other texts).

                  As we begin to reflect upon and understand this new identity of ours it begins to appear almost as unimaginable and marvelous as the notion of God sitting on the ground and calling a puppy over to play with Him. Yet it is a simple and clear task to relate these ideas about God among us in Jesus ( Emmanuel), and our union with God through Jesus in the new life that is ours, referred to as the gift of Sanctifying Grace. Moses, a 'fore-runner' of Jesus in his role as leader of God's liberation of His chosen people from the slavery of Egypt , tells the people their obedience to the commands of God will bring them life and entrance into a new land which God wishes to give them. The process leads to a wisdom on the part of God's people that is a source of inspiration and wonder to their neighbors. Our life in Jesus is designed to do the same for us. A new patience is to be ours, parents with children, pastors with people, neighbor with neighbor. A new faithfulness, and new generosity, a new mercy, a new prayer, a new 'land'. (cf Deut 4:1,2,6-8)

                  The entire letter of James is very clear on the practical effects of our new birth in Jesus. "...welcome the word that has taken root in you with its power ...Act on it. If all you do is listen to it you are deceiving yourselves." (James 1:17 - 18, 21,22,27). And in the Gospel, for example in Mark 7: 1 - 8,14,15,21 - 23, Jesus clearly faults anyone who is taken up merely with the externals of obedience and not its faithful love. Good works done for show can be an obstacle to holiness. Playing with a puppy done out of joy can be a religious experience. The first Christmas gave God as Jesus the beginning of His opportunity of going before us in our experience of this truth. In the light of this I have formed the habit not of wishing for people a mere merry Christmas but a happy one! Such a greeting can be honest and applied to those for whom life at the present moment is going along very well but also for someone who for the time being is poor sick or suffering in any way.


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