Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Revel in Humanity

Jesus became human.

Think about that for a minute.

Jesus, eternal creator and sustainer of all things. Eternally begotten, all power, all glory, all love from the Father, became a human.

Now, I'm Reformed in soteriology. And I fully believe man is Totally Depraved. I believe that the fall was an actual event in history that affected all of Adam's race and all of creation. I believe that all creation is groaning waiting for the new heavens and new earth.

But.

Jesus became human.

He didn't even descend as a fully formed adult male. No, he became a human baby. Incarnate. In flesh. (Carne in Spanish is "meat." Jesus came as meat.)

There must be something about this humanity thing.

I've been reading, off and on, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's book What's in a Phrase? for a while. It is a collection of meditations as she reads through scripture on specific passages or parts of passages. Yesterday, I read what she wrote about Genesis 2:24 (emphasis hers), "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." She questions about the word flesh. What does it mean?
Jesus' miracles affirmd the goodness of our fleshy lives. He spat in the mud and healed a blind man. He raised a child from her deathbed and said, "Give her something to eat." He made wine for the pleasure of wedding guests in Cana and held children on his lap. And in his own flesh he grew weary and wept, dripped sweat and bled. Every Sunday we proclaim our belief in the resurrection of the body -- andother of those mysteries about which believers speculate, sometimes to the point of bitter quarrels, but a mystery that is, it seems to me, profoundly comforting and healthily different from any spirituality that denies the luminous loveliness and intricacy of the body.
Jesus - God - was in places where we go. He was among other humans. Yes, He acted in extraordinary ways in those places, but he went to weddings and rejoiced and funerals and mourned. He gathered crowds and when necessary He needed to draw back away from people. Sometimes a little spit is the best thing for cleaning up a mess. He was human.

Yet, those extraordinary things were necessary to show his divinity: reconstructing eyes from the mud? (He knows we are dust; he knows our frame.); resurrection; control over the elements of water and wine; blessing children (God, himself, proclaiming blessedness. wow.). He did these things because his humanity was showing; He did these things to reveal his divinity.

He is our example in humanity.

How ought we to live? Imitate Christ.

The gospels show us. He did the necessary things, like being baptized - or annointed as king.  He did the unexpected when changing water into wine, but he did it to celebrate. He did the hard work of teaching about the kingdom and how to seek God.  It must have been frustrating, too, to know that there were so many who just wouldn't get it. He did the human thing of mourning over death, so unnatural, so opposed to creation.

Back in September, I wrote about Revel in Jesus. I defined *revel* from 1 Peter: "Rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory."  We can *revel* in the Incarnation. God became man. Put on human likeness. "Lord of Lords in human vesture." "Pleased as man with men to dwell."  (And, as my husband reminds me, we celebrate incarnation and resurrection every Lord's Day, we don't need extra, other, special holidays to do so. But they sure can be fun, just not conscience-binding.)

There is something about man (and I mean it in the old way - humanity, people, man and woman); there is something about man - sinful, depraved, wicked - that retains the spark of creation. God is making all things new. When we are Christ's we are already part of that new creation! The old has passed, the new has come. Then, we can truly *revel* in our humanity. Our true, in-the-process-of-being-sanctified humanity.

My pastor has been preaching for several years about that new humanity, initiated at the cross when Jesus pointed at Mary and told Peter John she was now his mother and he her son. As he builds his church, he is building a new people. A people who love and joy and live within one another's lives. We're in Philippians 2 right now - there's a solidarity among Christ's people - in the church - which brings shards of joy within our lives ... bits of heaven that we glimpse and savor.

We can revel in God and his Word as we learn to imitate Christ and grow in sanctification. We can revel in our marriages as we stand as salt and light in a culture opposed. We can revel in our children - birth, baptism, and the work to raise them. We can revel in our intellect, in reading classics, forever contemplating how they align with God's Word. We can revel in the repetition found in our vocations. We can even revel in community gathered at a funeral because we do not mourn as those without hope.

Did I learn to revel in the weakness of my physical body as I struggled with shingles in the spring and an arm injury in the fall? Well, I learned to trust my family and community more. I learned to mostly continue while incapacitated. I probably complained too much. There is much work to do. Glad my sanctification is God's job.

Did I revel in things that were new, or did I let my fear control me? That's an area I will always need to battle.

Let us revel in wonder at the things God has done and does. Let us revel in Jesus. Let us revel in thankfulness at God's steadfast character.

Let us *revel* in the everyday and in the extraordinary of our humanity!


This is already way, way too long, but as a sum-up post, I want to thank my guest posters for the year, Candace, Karen, Jennifer, and Mystie. They helped me flesh out and see other aspects of *revel* in ways I never could have. This exercise was valuable to me, and you probably haven't seen the last of *revel* here at ladydusk.

My goal was to learn to *revel* my God, my family, and my vocation. Well, I suppose I've made some steps forward away from melancholy and cynicism and toward joy.

I knew that *revel* was going to continue to be important in my life - probably the rest of it - which was part of why I chose Attend! as my word for 2016. You have to be aware of, notice, attend to things going on in life in order to *revel* in them.  I'm looking forward to considering Attend! next year.

May the Lord bless your endeavors of 2016 and may you *revel.*

4 comments:

  1. I thought it was John that Jesus pointed to while hanging on the Cross because Peter and the others were hiding. (I'm basing this on John 19:26-27.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. I was going by (faulty) memory. I should've double checked.

      I'm going to fix it. Thanks!

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    2. You're welcome -- I wanted to make sure that I hadn't completely misunderstood what I had always read!

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