Tuesday, December 23, 2014

God's timing Jeremiah 31:31-34

About 7 years ago I was blessed with a very patient group of folks willing to read through the whole book of Jeremiah. We wanted to learn what a real honest to goodness prophet sounded and acted like. Jeremiah fits the bill of an honest to God prophet.
What I learned most from reading Jeremiah was

  1. his persistence
  2. his sense of God's plan even in the middle of terrible trials
Peace and thanks for reading

A Christmas Metaphor

The reality of what happened at Christmas is so outrageous—on the outside—we claim today that God infinite and forever has come and lived among us. He is now one of us but he hasn't lost any of his glory—that's the meaning of Christmas. The grace and truth of Christmas is more than Jesus looking like a person—the God of Glory has come and lived with us. He's more than just a hologram, a phantom or a magicians illusion. This was God in flesh. This is God with us, our Emmanuel.

Now I want you to imagine it this way.
Imagine a die hard fan of a purple clad football team deciding he needed to become one with the fans of another team famous for wearing cheese heads. Maybe you imagine that die hard Viking fan might put a green and gold Packers jersey over his beloved purple one—but maybe that wouldn't be enough. That would be like a young man who lost a bet with a relative and had to wear a packer jersey to school on Monday. But later when asked about it he said he was extra careful to make sure that packers jersey didn't actually touch his skin.

Now there are some of you here who's weeks don't rise and fall on the success of either team. And that's ok, but just for the sake of conversation let's imagine just how deeply Jesus stepped into our humanity. He became one of us.

It's one thing for a true hard core sports fan to put on the jersey of the team that gives his favorite team fits. But Jesus did more than just put on a different jersey. Jesus, God from the beginning of all time, came to earth as a human being. He did more than make cosmetic changes to his facade. He stepped into our lives. He did more than just live next us. He moved in as one of us.

Just think about a true died in the wool Viking fan. He's got purple everything every where. He could say he'd been near to Packer fans if he'd gone to Lambeau field dressed in blaze orange. But he'd only been near them if he sat silent and hadn't cheered for either team during a game. But Jesus did more than just come close to us. He became one of us.

Jesus moved into the the neighborhood. He had flesh and bones and hair and teeth. He knew temptation first hand and he became intimately acquainted with grief and loss. Jesus entered fully and totally into our story. He became one of us.

Maybe you think that if a Viking fan bought a place in DePere or Ashwabenon a few blocks from Lambeau field that would be enough. But Jesus did more than just move next to us. Imagine that same Viking fan shopping for groceries every week at the Copps store half a mile down Lombardi Avenue from the stadium. Jesus did more than live next to us and engage in commerce near us. He came born of a human mother. He became one of us in every way possible.

Imagine that Viking fan now with season tickets ten rows up from the field on the 45 yard line at Lambeau. Imagine him week after week putting forest green paint all over his torso and a bright gold G painted on his front to form the first letter in GO PACK GO. Jesus did even more than that.

The Gospel of John explains the mystery this way, the Word became flesh and he set up his dwelling, literally pitched his tent among us (John 1:.14) Where ever you might live Jesus is capable of stepping in. Whatever your joys and sorrows might be he's with you. He's one of us faithful all the way to the end.
Peace, and thanks for reading. John