Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Incarnation and Life

In theology and life what must change and what can’t? The circumstances of our real lives, and our understanding of them and ourselves continually develop in the hand of God as history reveals the highlights and shadows of a human condition that is beautiful but also tragic.

In this world, only Jesus himself is eternal in his humanity and divinity, Alpha and Omega. Everything else is relative.

The datum point for it all, however, for disciples of Jesus, is what goes on in the stable — God with us, completely divine and completely human. Jesus’ divinity was easy to grasp as an idea. It’s his humanity that caused all the trouble in the early Church, and still does. Being carried away by thoughts of Jesus’ divinity readily turned him into a superhero, a hybrid, a freak. Making him more than human actually made him less than human, a storybook figure, a plaster saint, or ghost, or an alien visitor.

I wonder if we could grasp the reality of God who comes among us saying, as the motto of St Bartholomew’s hospital has it, “nihil humanum alienum a me puto” (I think nothing human alien to me), a lot of our most intractable moral and theological conundra could be re-framed in a positive and practical light. If Christ were less of a freak, our neighbour might also be as mysterious but less threatening and more lovable. Our Gospel might be good news, not just theory.

What we need isn’t some elaborate new theory to explain our contentious issues themselves, but a vision of what it means to be truly human that is as accepting as that of God himself, refreshed by our core tradition, courageous enough to take it fully seriously in our real circumstances today.

Happy Christmas!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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