Dear Church family,
Earlier this week we were blessed to host Dr. James Lee, associate professor of the history of early Christianity at Perkins Seminary in Dallas. One of the things he taught us about the early Church was that they did not struggle with the truth that Jesus was God. That was not controversial at all to them. They were certain that Jesus was God. The controversy was whether or not he could have been truly human. It blew their minds that God would love us so much he would become human and frail and limited. The reality of Jesus’ presence and work in this world forced them to completely rethink who God is.
It continues to blow our minds to this day. Remember the line of that great hymn “My Song Is Love Unknown”? The first verse ends with these words:
“O who am I
that for my sake
my Lord should take frail flesh,
And yet it is this mystery that we proclaim. Even when we cannot grasp it ourselves:
the God of the universe, the all-knowing and all-powerful God over all things, became human in order to save us.
Really human, not just half-way. All so that God could point us ever more closely to the mystery of who he really is; so we can more deeply know him.
The famous painting in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican gets it right. You know the one, I’ve included it here.
It is the God of the universe in the clouds, and Adam the first person. While we may often think of God in heaven with clouds surrounded by the heavenly host and sitting on his throne, that is not how Michelangelo painted it. He painted God leaning out of heaven reaching toward Adam. God is leaning so far down that it looks as if he could fall out of heaven at any moment, that is how much he is trying to reach his human creation.
And so he did.
In Jesus, God fell out of heaven. All out of his great love and desire to reach us.
“O who am I that for my sake my Lord should take frail flesh, and die?” It is a good question. And it is one that God has answered: Who are you? You are the one I adore to the ends of the earth (and heaven).
My our Lord be with you this day,