Pastor’s Pen

Written by Pastor's Pen - March 3, 2013 0 Comments

The Pastor’s Pen

Have you ever stopped to consider just how “physical” is the Christian faith?  Have you ever stopped to consider the extent to which Christianity might be called an “embodied” religion?  Unlike many of the world’s religions, which speak of God as an otherworldly spirit, at the heart of the church’s teaching is the remarkable good news that in the person of Jesus, God became a human being.  God took on flesh and blood and appeared among us in bodily form.

That’s what we celebrate, of course, at Christmas.  God, the creator of all that exists, took up residence in Mary’s womb and came into the world in about as earthy a way as possible – not in a sterile hospital, but in a dark, damp stable surrounded by animals.  And then, for the next thirty years or so, God walked the earth as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult, as a man.  God was fully and completely a physical, flesh and blood, human being.

Later this month, as we remember the events of Holy Week, God’s physical, embodied nature will be fully on display.  On Maundy Thursday, we’ll hear how Jesus took a basin of water and a towel, knelt down, and washed the disciples’ feet.  We’ll recall, too, how Jesus took the bread and the wine of the Passover meal and offered them to the disciples as his body and blood.

On Good Friday, we’ll remember how Jesus experienced in his flesh the excruciating pain of the lashes, of the crown of thorns, of the nails.  And we’ll watch with the women as Jesus’ broken and beaten body is laid in a tomb.

And then on Easter Sunday, we’ll rejoice in the good news that Jesus was raised bodily.  It wasn’t a ghost that appeared to the disciples.  It was the flesh and blood Jesus, the one who bore in his body the marks of the nails and the spear.  Christianity is indeed a physical, embodied religion!

So why did God enter our world in the flesh?  Why did God take on our physical human nature?  Why did God leave his heavenly throne to experience the full range of bodily human existence?  In the answer to that question we find the heart of the gospel itself.  It was to redeem flesh and blood human beings.  It was to reconcile us to himself.  It was so that you and I, along with all creation, might belong to God forever.

Why it had to be that way – why God had to become one of us in order to save us – is a mystery we can’t fully comprehend.  But during Lent and Holy Week especially, we both celebrate and stand in awe of that mystery.  God loves us so much that he became one of us – all the way to the grave.

I invite you to join us for worship – on Sunday mornings, on Wednesday evenings, and during our special Holy Week and Easter services – as we enter into the mystery and the wonder of the God who became flesh.

Lenten blessings,

Pastor Selbo

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