Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Incarnation of Light

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d and the Word was G-d. He was in the beginning with G-d. All things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not comprehended it." John 1:1-5

This has got to be one of my favorite expressions of G-d; the incarnation of Jesus in human flesh. However difficult this may be to understand, and the insurmountable task in comprehension should not negate the investigation of this sublime action of G-d Almighty. This certainly moves me from the shallow puddles to the deepest oceans of who G-d is and how far His glory will shine so as to deliver the souls of men.
As I was starting this I knew I had to get a clear definition of incarnation. This is one of those words that I think we can become to familiar with and maybe sidestep its fullest meaning. The basic definition of incarnation means, embodied in flesh, or taking on flesh and refers to the conception and birth of a sentient(usually human)creature, who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial.
I found it interesting that this idea plays out in different definitions from varied traditions and religious systems. The concepts can be found in the religious systems of Egyptian cults, Buddhism, Hinduism and Baha'i. However, for the purpose of this posting I would like to concentrate on the incarnation on the biblical and New Testament revelation. I think I will come back to the varied ideas in another post though.
The incarnational idea is wrapped up in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. G-ds light, truth and goodness coming into being within the barriers of time and space is rather staggering. The staggering part of this to me is that a G-d who is so beyond the scope of our small imaginations would actually want to come into our world. Why would a Holy G-d even care to want to invade the air space of our world and share the same blood soaked sod? This might be the most excellent opportunity to explore theology and find out if it is a waste of time or a worth while venture.
The statement in John chapter 1 is that the "Word was G-d", and that this "Word" contained life and this life was "the light of men.". Life and light takes on human form, wrapped in the same flesh as Its own creation. This light would shine in the darkness and ultimately the darkness of the world would not overcome it. Jesus, who humbled himself as a man although being in nature G-d, chose to step out from eternity into the imprisonment of flesh and blood. This is the mystery that everyone grapples with, because it is the mystery of the "true light" which "enlightens everyone."v.9. That is, everyone has some knowledge of the "light" of G-d simply because of the general knowledge of creation and conscience itself, but unfortunately we suppress that truth.
There is what I call one of the greatest pieces of existential lyrical pieces of the 80s performed by the artist Joan Osborn, it was called "What if G-d was one of us?" Here are some of the lyrics;" If G-d had a name what would it be? And would you call it to his face? IF you were faced with Him in all his glory what would you ask if you had one question? What if G-d was one of us?Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on a bus? Trying to make his way home?".
This is a person who was(is) really grappling with his/her own existence and that of G-ds. The question really is, if G-d really cares why not try this life out yourself?
I think this is the absolute beauty of the incarnating of Messiah; he did become a sojourner on this earth and was a stranger among brothers. He felt loneliness, pain and suffering. This is essential in trying to grasp hold of a reality of a G-d who cared enough to don wounded flesh and still try to speak and reason with, share and commune with a lost and hurting world.
The author of Hebrews expounded much on this, and here a couple of quotes from chp.2 of Hebrews; "For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.........Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil.......Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of G-d........For he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.".
I believe that this piece of truth of the theology of light most exemplifies what light is. Jesus is light, the ever present light of G-d which is moving vibrantly in this world even today. Light is manifested through the healing touch to a crippled man, felt emotionally by families that had lost loved ones to the sting of death. The living light of G-d is demonstrated through a life touched by that of a salvation of a wonderful savior who took on all of the worst brutality, violence and slander that the world had to give. This light took on the darkness and vanquished it's power in the eternal scheme of things forever
G-d so loved the world he gave His Light!!!!!
May G-d be glorified in my body today and may His eternal Light, Jesus, be praised.

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