O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
The Word makes you human
The Word makes you human
Based on John 1:1-14
Preached on December 25, 2016,
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Fellow baptized saints, there is this incredible quote from the late author and journalist Malcolm Muggeridge. He quipped, we have educated ourselves into imbecility. But the joke sticks. Reason has failed us. The Age of Enlightenment failed us. A couple world wars started in the center of all academic excellence and we’ve realized we cannot answer all questions by human reason alone. Truth does not originate in our minds.
So we jumped tracks. If not our reason – then maybe our feelings. We doubled-down on ourselves. We mistakenly assumed that the truth has to be somewhere in here. If not my mind, then maybe my heart. I’ll follow my heart. And the imbecility has deepened.
Gone are the days of thinking. We are in the days of feeling. And we are only starting to see the dangers of what that means. But you know what I’m talking about. We no longer ask, “What do you think is right?” We ask “What do you feel is right?” Everyday – you are called on to use your emotional logic. To feel what’s right. “Emotion” what is true. “Emote” your way through this life.
Just look at Christmas. Christmas has been changed from something you hear with your ears – the message of the angel we heard last night – to this thing you are supposed to be able to feel. What does Christmas mean to you? You decide – and you make your decision with your emotions.
Welcome to the world of post-modernism. Where “that might be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Where “that’s just your interpretation.” Where “I create myself through self-expression.” Its Old Adam on overdrive. Creature become Creator. A sad and lonely world trapped in the darkness of our own interpretations. Even if there were an overarching, universal truth – the scholars say – we wouldn’t know it anyway – we couldn’t recognize it because of our own preset interpretations. We have lost our story. Lost our humanity. But God comes to bring it back.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Evidently God agrees. We wouldn’t know truth if we saw it. We didn’t recognize Him when He came. The Word of God became flesh. The Creator. The One who spoke all things into being, and no one noticed Him. We were too busy being trapped in our darkness - to see the light of the world.
But this is exactly where the new story starts. The Word became flesh. Things got personal. God didn’t become flesh for Himself. He didn’t become a man because He thought it was a step up. The Word became flesh for you. Took on human weakness for you. United Himself to our dilemma for you. The light wasn’t going to wait around for the darkness to take notice of it. He acted. He entered into your darkness – into your sadness – joined you in your loneliness. The Creator became like you. Lived and breathed and slept and ate like you. Felt the things you feel - in order to reignite the light – in order to brush aside the ice cold ashes of mankind’s heart and light a new fire in its place. A new identity. A new humanity.
Beloved, the Word made flesh is God’s expression to us. His way of showing you there is more to you than what you are able to express. Far more than what you feel. Your emotions are not what make you human. The Word makes you human. Hear it. Your expressions are not make you human. The Word makes you human. The Word made you the first time, and now He comes to create you again by becoming like you. He is breaking in, recreating humanity in His own human flesh. Right when it was lost – it was dead – it was dark – the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God’s own personal expression to you, and to all humanity.
I think this is most incredible part of the Christian message. The new humanity. The new life. The light of mankind – is not found inside you. It is outside of you – over there - in the soft, infant flesh of this holy Child, born to offer that flesh for the life of the world.
You won’t find Him if you look inside yourself. You won’t find Him if you look up into the heavens. He is found in the flesh. In the manger. On the hay. Fragile. Frail. For you.
But here’s the problem. He doesn’t look like much. Like any other ordinary baby boy. Had it not been for the angel’s message that night – those shepherds would have remained in darkness. The light must be proclaimed. Preached. Heard. Believed. Certainly the true light comes from outside of us – but this light doesn’t go in our eyes – it goes in our ears.
The Word made flesh is the Word that is preached. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came to preach. To proclaim this light - that all might believe through Him. There is no believing without preaching! Preaching is what brings the light past the eyes and into the mind and heart. Preaching is what shines a spotlight on the manger. Preaching is what unswaddles the infant. Preaching is what lets your soul lie down there on the hay with your Lord. God’s infant flesh is revealed in the preaching – offered to your spirit in the preaching – exposed and uncovered and confronted in your presence – in the preaching. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
Yet this too is the eternal Word. Walking to reach you - in this very moment anew. Laying hold of you where you are – in flesh and blood, space and time – with all of your despair and your downness and darkness. He calls you to trust Him. To believe in His Name. To let Him take you and change you and make you His own with this fleshly Word.
This is all that remains – that this Word be preached – this is what this dark world needs – not political correctness or human compassion or any other hopeless human effort - it needs the Gospel preached – Jesus preached – Salvation and grace and mercy and forgiveness preached into the hearts and minds of these precious people whom God Himself has come for in the flesh, died for in the flesh, lived again for in the flesh – people like you and me.
I told you – things got personal. The Word became flesh. He is the new humanity. He is our new identity. Beloved, this Word of God has a name. His Name is Jesus. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr