BABY AS IMMANUEL!

In a world desperately in need of good news and forlornly weary of platitudes we celebrate the coming of Immanuel—God with us—in the gift of Jesus   Glory to God in the highest!  Well, yes, but what about us in the lowest? If it doesn’t work for the whole world and all of reality, does it truly work?  That’s a question I have been asking in recent years.  I was forced to ask it seriously and urgently when I began going to other places, addressing other cultures, and found that some of my most “creative” stuff just didn’t work there and in those circumstances.  So, does it work for the whole world—for the highest and the lowest places and those who …

GOD AS BABY!

When you held your first-born baby, or grandchild, or any infant, you probably did not think, “This is how God was!” C.S. Lewis famously noted that the greatest miracle of Christianity is not the resurrection but the incarnation. If you can accept that God became a baby, the resurrection should not be a problem. The biblical story tells us about a baby’s birth.  During these weeks of Advent, we will read and sing from two famous passages found in the Prophesy of Isaiah.   At a time when the people of Judah cowered in fear over an alliance of Israel and Syria against them, the Lord gave a sign: The virgin will conceive and bear a son, whose name will …

JESUS IS THE ELEPHANT

Jesus is the elephant–the elephant of the story, the elephant in the room, and the elephant that is unlike any other. Jesus is the elephant of the story.  The story has become a well-known parable, tracing back to ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts some 2500 years ago.  Commonly called “the parable of the blind men and the elephant,” the story goes like this: A group of blind men learn about a strange creature, called an elephant, and proceed to examine it by physically touching it.  Each touches the elephant in different places, and draws conclusions based on what he perceives from his manual examination.  One feels the trunk and says the creature is like a thick snake.  Another touches an …

The First Day of the Week

On the first day of the week we became Easter People.  Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things were made in the beginning, has initiated the new creation.  Just as in the first beginning, Jesus completed the work—living among us, proclaiming Kingdom-come, casting out demons, healing the sick, mending the broken, confronting the powers and the evil that pulls their strings, taking their best shot, and dying—crying, “It is finished!”  His cry turned out to be the most delightful and wonderful double entendre.  The powers, of course, understood the one meaning—yes, indeed, would-be Messiah and King dead as dead can be, problem solved!  But they had no idea.  Later the Apostle Paul would observe, if they had had any …

WAS JESUS ABANDONED?

When from the cross Jesus cries out: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” he felt the full consequences of human sin, which separates from all that is good, including God who is good.  To embrace human sinfulness in bodily life in loving self-sacrifice, as Jesus did, pushed him to the outermost edges of inhabitable reality.  It overshadowed his dimming and dying perceptions and awareness.  It acquainted him with the deepest of griefs—the shrouding of conscious awareness of God’s presence.  It drove him to a despairing sense of abandonment, unthinkable and unimaginable until that very moment.  In these final moments, he felt the generationally-compounding weight of humanity’s isolation from the Presence required for human life and flourishing.  It …