As I was sitting and listening to the passion narrative read during the Good Friday service. I began to realize that I am not as familiar with the story as I should be. There were points where I thought; that’s not how I remember it or is that in the wrong order. Of course, the four gospels have different narratives of the Passion but it got me to think. How often do I speak about or refer to the Bible with what I think I know, or from what I remember? How often do I take the time to actually deeply know how each gospel portrays the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. I have to confess that I do not read the Bible as much as a should. I often rely on what I think I know. The sin of relying on the memory of Christ’s story is that we can turn the story to fit our needs. We can fill in the blanks spots of our memory with our own version.
As Christians were claim the narrative of Christ but do we really know it? Do we deeply contemplate this story and make it a part of our own story and lives? I don’t think we do. Throughout the Old and New Testament we are reminded to remember, the Passover is a reminder of God’s grace and mercy on Israel and their deliverance. How often did Israel forget and have to be reminded by Prophets. (Anyone know what that number is? I guess the point is that is was a lot.)
As we celebrate Easter we remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That his death as an act of love bought us freedom from sin. We should not relegate his story to mere myth, We should make sure that this story is authentic and accurate. We should not only refresh our hearts of the Salvation Christ brings to the world but also our minds. In the first half of Duet 11:18 it says “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds.” Human memory fails. If the story of Christ shapes and forms our lives, we should know it. It should be the one story we cling to and want to know as accurately as possible. So take a deep look at the Story of Christ, at this death and resurrection. Maybe you’ll find something that surprises you, maybe you’ll have a double take.
I wonder how the world would change if us Christians actually knew the Gospel story rather than assuming we did?
Grace and Peace to you from Our Father in Heaven and Our Lord Jesus Christ whose birth and incarnation we celebrate today. Amen
Our lives are filled with Hope and Expectation. We hope the economy will get better. We hope for Christmas and birthday presents. And we hope for a better future. There are a million things we trust and hope that will happen. As Christians our hope rests on Jesus Christ. On Christmas morning we celebrate with all the saints before us who trusted and hoped in Jesus. Christ is our hope from the dawn of creation and now through his incarnational presence. Christ is the fulfillment of Hope both as his presence on earth in human flesh and through his presence as the church, his body, working in and through us to redeem the world. Christ is the fulfillment of future hope when he will come again to complete his redemption. Hope is in the “Word made flesh and dwelling among us”.
John’s Gospel points us to the very act of creation, and to the God of Creation. “In the beginning” John writes echoing Genesis. He reminds us of how God, by just uttering a word created both light and life. God said “Let there be Light and there was Light.” When God speaks, amazing things happen. God’s Word is Alive and Active. It is through Word that all things come into being. This word was with God and was God. We are reminded in the book of Hebrews how God, in his steadfast love and faithfulness gave hope by speaking and acting through the ancestors and prophets of Israel but that now God gives us hope and speaks directly through the “Word made flesh” in Jesus Christ. This is the hope we find in Christ, that God the “Word made flesh” is here making things happen. Throughout the Gospels, this Child we celebrate every Christmas grew up to the fed the hungry, heal the sick, freed the captives, and restore relationship. He brings light to the darkness and restores life from death.
Jesus of Nazareth did not just appear as a human. He came into this world as Child, as all human beings do. We affirm, remember and celebrate Christ’s humanity. That Christ lived, and died as human, a mortal being. In Jesus, The author of life becomes flesh so that we might see, touch and know hope through his life and light.
John reminds us later in the Gospel the purpose Jesus’ incarnation and his dwelling among us in the world. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believe in him may not perish but have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Jesus came to save us from death and corruption cause by sin. Jesus’ gift of life and hope comes to us by way his death on the Cross. Christ’s birth receives its significance and meaning in the shadow of the cross. God’s ultimate plan for salvation is made known in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Christ had to die so that he might raised in new life. Christ had to be human to die. So just as Christ shares our human death and in Christ we share his resurrection. We receive Salvation, which is sharing in God’s own life through Jesus Christ. On Christmas we celebrate the hope found in Jesus’ coming into the world as Child, a human Child, who is light in the midst of darkness and life in the midst of death. “God with us” Emmanuel.
How is that we experience this Jesus who was born 2000 years ago? Jesus is “the Word made flesh” who dwells among us and so through the promised Holy Spirit we are made part of his life. Through Jesus’ death on the cross we are made Children Of God. That is our Hope. To be restored with God and share in his life as he intended. As the Church, the body of Christ we live the reality of Jesus dwelling among us everyday. We are the incarnation of God’s salvation in the world. When we live in Christ, his life and light are given to others. When we hear the Gospel read and preached, Christ is incarnate there. When we feed the poor and hungry Christ is there. When people are Baptized, Christ incarnated. When we worship and share a meal, Christ dwells among us. As the Church, we are the incarnation of Christ in a world that longs to know “Where is God in all of the this?” We speak the word that is Christ and fill the darkness with his light.
Jesus the light of the world stepped down into darkness. Jesus our life, lived and died so that we might live in him. Jesus, our hope, fulfills our expectations both now and in the future. Until Jesus comes again and restores all of creation completely. We proclaim in the words of that the Christmas carol “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Indeed Our Hopes and our fears rest in Jesus. Amen!!!