We have it all. Information whenever we want it. Connection with hundreds of ‘friends’ in real-time. Independence from authority–the ability to write our own story.
And yet we don’t have it all. We look around and see the devastation of poverty, racism, violence, and division. We feel the emptiness of isolation and loneliness. We struggle to shoulder the weight of building our own identity. We have a gnawing sense that things are not how they should be.
So what’s the solution? How can the world be made right? God’s answer is a surprising (and scandalous) one. In order to heal the brokenness of our world, God actually enters into it and restores it from the inside. He assumes what is ours to give us what is his. It’s unthinkable, mysterious, and wonderful. It’s Incarnation. The word is unfamiliar, and perhaps feels lofty. Actually, it’s a really earthy word. And we need it. It means “in flesh” (remember carne–meat/flesh–from Spanish class?) and describes how God took on human flesh in the person of Jesus so that we might be brought into God’s very life.
Think of that! God didn’t make things right by sending a message, giving abstract principles to live by, or intervening from a distance with his nose plugged and gloves on. No, God makes things right by entering into our hurt, pain, frailty, and confusion. Through Jesus’s life, death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead, he defeats the power of sin and death and welcomes us with open arms. We’re embraced by Jesus! And because Jesus was fully God and fully human, our union with him joins us to God. This is Good News, indeed!
So we can trade our loneliness, fear, and anxiety for a life of intimacy, peace, and hope. We can trade the crushing weight of writing our own story for a life of rest in Jesus, who authors our biography. We can trade vague aimlessness for a life of purpose in God’s great story.
You see, Incarnation doesn’t stop with our union to God. Through that union, we are also united to all other persons who have put their trust in Jesus (the Bible calls this Body of Jesus, or the Church). As members of this Body, we have a purpose or calling: to carry the presence of Jesus with us wherever we go. Since we’re in Jesus (and Jesus is in us), we actually embody his healing and transforming presence in our families, at school or work, and in the community. In this sense, then, we incarnate (embody) the presence of Jesus in the world. This is God’s plan to bring hope, healing, and transformation to the world, and we get to be part of it!
Welcome to Incarnation: A people embraced by Jesus, and embodying his presence.