But here and now the Word which was implicit in the Beginning and in the End is become immediately explicit, and that which hitherto we could only passively fear as the incomprehensible I AM, henceforth we may actively love with comprehension that THOU ART. Wherefore, having seen Him, not in some prophetic vision of what might be, but with the eyes of our own weakness as to what actually is, we are bold to say that we have seen our salvation.
— For the Time Being (1944)

A few weeks ago, you may have read in the Wednesday Edition that the Christian faith is centred around a handful of basic, crazy mysteries which, praise God, are true.   None is perhaps more mind-blowing than the mystery of the Incarnation, that is, the moment when God the Son took on a human nature like ours and united it with his divine nature forever.  It’s the most audacious of these mysteries, perhaps, because it connects the everyday lives that you and I live, lives that revolve around work, family, and play, to something as awesome and transcendent as God for whom and through whom the world was created.  God, who is utterly unlike you, became like you in every possible way except for sin without ceasing to be God.  This is the mystery of mysteries.

And so the Apostle John writes in John 1:14: “And the Word become Flesh and dwelt among us.”  As sinful people living sinful lives, we often have a very difficult time assimilating or even accepting the mystery of the Incarnation, and we usually try to get around in four basic ways:

First, sometimes we try to say that it wasn’t really God who became like us: it was an angel, a godlike emanation, or a superman.  But, if Jesus was not really God, then he is not your Savior, because only the God who made you can save you, only the one who put his Image in you can restore his Image.

Second, sometimes we try to say that it wasn’t really a man whom God became: he just manifested himself visually or pretended to be in a body or took a body but not a soul.  But if Jesus was not really Man, then you with your human nature have not been saved, since he does not and cannot save what he did not appropriate and become.

Third, sometimes we try to say that God didn’t really become anything, that he was two persons, one of them God and one of them man, who always seem to hang out together.  But if Jesus as a person did not really become man as a single person, then you as a person will never be saved, since the bridge between God and man has not been crossed and there is no salvation.

But lastly, and most frequently, sometimes we try to ignore that it matters.  We try to pretend that the Creator of the Universe becoming a human being like myself has no practical value.  But, if, as paradoxical and unimaginable as it seems, God the Son did in fact become a human being like you and me, how could this fact not radically change every bit of our lives?

This short article was published in the Resurrection Times: Wednesday Edition, July 7, 2010. Its purpose was to whet the whistle of its readers for the up-coming sermon on the Doctrine of the Incarnation.

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