by Mthr. Charissa Bradstreet, Interim Rector

What difference does it make that Jesus was incarnate?  In the face of the challenges of our lives, what can we find in the incarnation that helps us to understand God, ourselves, our neighbors, and how to go about living the life we’ve been given?  We’re just three weeks away from the end of the season of Epiphany which celebrates the incarnation.  So, here is a recap of themes I’ve been highlighting over the last month as they relate to these questions about what the incarnation has to do with us:

  • Through his baptism Jesus stepped into the very water we enter – the water of regret and longing and hope. As a result, something amazing now happens within a sacrament that we practice as the Church:  God continues to get into the water with us.  And we are forever connected to God, enfolded in the pleasure of God, lit up from within by the Spirit of God.
  • Through Jesus, God entered the experience of a human body and all that it entails: exhaustion, pleasure, frustration, connection, big emotions, hunger, physical and emotional pain.  And once again, as God did at creation, God declares humanity good and worthy of relationship, calling us “children.”  God has taken the time to know what it is to be human and so we have a God who truly comprehends our pain and our joy – and who invites us to “Come and See.”
  • As followers of Jesus, we are trying to do a new thing, trying to live a kind of love that stretches us and that deepens the character of the love we express and experience with one another. It goes well beyond being nice, or playing the martyr, or letting sleeping dogs lie.  It surrenders the need to be right or perfect or in control. It acknowledges our interdependence, and it ultimately seeks the health of the relationship.
  • When Jesus set off to teach and proclaim the good news of the kingdom and he started with those who were sick from disease and ailments, bringing healing. He started with those who were counted as least. In the beatitudes he described what his kingdom is like.  Apparently it is like an abundance of blessing, poured upon those who have been cheated, exploited, and made hungry and thirsty for righteousness. We are invited to respond to this grace by doing justice, loving kindness, and walking closely with God.

In Jesus, God drew near to us, walking alongside humanity, so that we might better understand the depth of God’s love for us.  God’s invitation, through the incarnation, is to find our greatest freedom in walking with God and loving our neighbor.

A prayer informed by the incarnation:  O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.