Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Living Adventurously

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Advent is the time we remember the mystery of the incarnation. Among some people I know, it’s a time to reopen debates about Christology, the nature of that incarnation. For those of us willing to take it as a given and think about the implications, it should be a time to jump to the end of the book of Revelation and pray, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’.
Of course, there is all manner of debate and confusion over Jesus’ ‘second coming’ as there is over his first, but it’s always worth grounding the later in the former. And I mean so quite literally. We are used to thinking of Jesus as a man. And he was (is) a male human. Sadly, often in our imaginations and movies it is a blue-eyed Jesus we see, rather than a dark-skinned Galilean Jew. We can all too readily press Jesus into whatever mould we want. Scholars as well as laity are not immune from this.
John’s Gospel goes to great lengths to affirm Jesus’ divinity. More particularly, he is identified with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not some abstract conception of deity that might find home in the debates of philosophers, less still the rain-sending ‘Hughie’ of popular thought. For John, Jesus is the One who pitches his tent, or tabernacles, among his people, just as God did in the wandering in the wilderness. He is the Word who was present at creation, through whom all things were made. The echoes with Genesis 1 are quite clear.

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