Why is the incarnation (God fully entering the human condition) such a big deal?
Who benefits from this relationship, and how?
What difference does it make in my life? Our life? What makes this Good News?
These are last week’s questions, for today’s answers. We’ve left Advent and moved into the Christmas season, so the timing is good. We’ve established that the Good News of Jesus is that God wants to be in communion with us, as one of us. We’ve also established that why God would want that makes no sense to us. So, that’s where we start-- with what we do not understand.
To know and accept that we do not know is why and how we begin our spiritual journey. We want to know whatever we know we do not know. At least, we figure, we should push understanding as far as we can. When we arrive at the place of not knowing, we are ready. First, we try to list what we know we do not know. Here’s my attempt:
I do not fully know God,
· I do not fully know God’s ways,
· I do not know what is beyond what I do know and
· I do not know why God seems so mysterious at times.
Of course, there are more than just those things, but they are ok for a start. By naming what I do not know, I move into the realm of the unknowing. Not very far in, but in, where I can begin to say what I do know and/or believe about what I do not fully know. Obviously, with my list, I believe that there is a God; I understand that God is really and truly “Other,” even more than anyone else I know is other; I know God has a realm—a place or state of being; I know how I would act if I were God, but not much about God’s own actions.
How are any of us to go any further once we hit the wall of not knowing? Left to ourselves, we speculate, imagine, argue and go in circles, never going any deeper. We cry out to God: “Help us to understand! Save us from our ignorance.” But God is so much other that if God were to answer, we would neither hear nor understand. So, the Incarnation. In order to save us from our ignorance, which causes separation (sin) between God and ourselves, God takes on the only nature we really understand at all: ours! We move toward the answers in human form, (knowing that there is still more) and we live according to what we have learned, (if we so choose). Paraphrasing the very old Baltimore catechism, we grow in knowing, loving and serving God in this world, and enter into the place where all is known, all are served and do the serving, all is loved, understood and lived out, aka heaven. God became human so humans could approach the divine. Good News indeed! Thank you, Jesus, and Happy Birthday.