Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Embodied in flesh

It might not be a surprise to anyone that I love Jesus. I make no bones about that--neither here, nor anywhere else, to tell the truth. Now, I'm not one of those in-your-face evangelists. Don't have to be. It seems to me that Jesus is peeking in the door, so to speak, of every conversation I ever have. You know why? I'm not sure I have the skill to explain it--certainly not the skill to explain it that John has. After all, he began His gospel with this prologue: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

The word incarnate means to be embodied in flesh. That word, Incarnate, isn't even in scripture, but it's my favorite holy word, and what John is talking about here. That the Word-- God!--is embodied in flesh and bone and blood and came to dwell in the dirty, stinky, reality of this planet, that He was confined in a body with the same functions that you and I have, had to eat and sleep on a 24-hour cycle just like we do, and manage this life--this very life--I can hardly write it without tears pooling at the corners of my eyes. And always with a steely-glinted eye on the bloody cross-shaped prize that claimed His life to save your life and mine. Can you believe it? Seriously, how can it not make us weep every single day of our lives? This is the Incarnation--that God Himself lived and walked and slept and did His business and then did all the business of Heaven for our sake. This God we call Jesus (or whose nickname is Jesus, as my children once called it, when they were young and trying to understand the mystery of the trinity).

And now, every time the words of God become flesh and dwell between us, we are living Incarnately. We let Him in. Every time. He is always there. He promised this would be so, you know. His Holy Spirit is made flesh in us. This now is how Jesus--the Word, the Spirit--becomes flesh and makes His dwelling among us. Really. Really! And yesterday was a day full of incarnation for me. And I'm telling you, it just about blasted my socks right off my feet.
Three examples:

  • The Beve, SK (who is home from college for the summer!!!) and I saw a friend and began a conversation, and one thing led to another, and pretty soon this friend was pouring out his heart about a difficult co-worker, competition in the workplace, his own frustration, his desire to give God the glory which wars with his own stubborn pride. It was raw and real and all of a sudden there He was, sitting at that table with us. God and man at table had sat down, and it was good, because we were seeking Him. Simultaneously, the Beve and I said, "I think we should pray," and that was even better--I love it when the Beve prays. He sets an elbow on the table, his chin on his hand and his heart on things above where Christ is. I swear, I could listen to him all day. Afterwards, this man's burden was lifted. We were allowed to carry it with him, and what a privilege!
  • Later, I got a phone call from a one of my favorite engineers. He's been reading this blog and we got to talking about it. (Odd to think that I'm actually talking to you here, RWC!) Anyway, he was talking about how we are so different, and suddenly, right there in my backyard, as I was throwing for the puppy with one arm and holding the phone with the other, there was Jesus, crackling through the phone line. Did you sense it? Incarnation. The words between us becoming flesh--taking on meaning bigger than ourselves. We're talking about how words on a page make us think and grow, become convicted, wonder about how we live, get outside ourselves, and right there in that moment, there is Jesus, working on us, in us, speaking, standing/sitting with us saying, "You can change. This is the moment. I am in this!" Holy moments, I like to call them. But they really are about Incarnation--His Incarnation.
  • And the third conversation was another phone call. I picked up the phone to my editor's voice yesterday morning. She said, "I heard from J (my agent--wow, there are a lot of people with names that start with J) and I'm singing Hallelujahs!" Good news from far away, right? I've been waiting for a very long time to hear that my book, or any part of it, is 'done.' And now the first 3 chapters are. If that's not Jesus, I don't know what is. Really. A Holy moment. Will you take a moment and give Him glory with me? Even if you haven't a clue what the climb's been--how long and hard and how many blisters I have on my feet and hands, how often I almost fell from the rope? I'm not at the summit yet...but I can see it in the distance. And that's good enough for this day. The word made flesh.

I don't know how He incarnates Himself in your life, but I believe--which I've always said was stronger than knowing, because after all, it's the very "substance of things hoped for"--that He does, in conversations, both large and small, trivial and significant. You think you're talking about the weather, your shared job, a frustrating boss, and suddenly, with a whisper, there He is, and you aren't alone. Suddenly, whatever it is you are talking about, you're also talking with Him, and that changes everything. God right within you, embodied in your flesh. Lean in. Can't you hear Him? How cool is that?

No comments: