Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Word became flesh

Reflections upon John 1.1-14

“Thus the reality of Jesus Christ is that God Himself in person is actively present in the flesh. God Himself in person is the Subject of a real human being and acting. And just because God is the Subject of it, this being and acting are real. They are genuinely and truly human and acting. Jesus Christ is not a demigod. He is not an angel. Nor is He an ideal man. He is a man as we are, equal to us as a creature, as a human individual, but also equal to us in the state and condition into which our disobedience has brought us. And in being what we are He is God’s Word. Thus as one of us, yet the one of us who is Himself God’s Word in person, He represents God to us and He represents us to God. In this way He is God’s revelation to us and our reconciliation with God.”

- Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, I/2, 151.

God surprises us by speaking a word that is far less alien than we might have expected. And yet its very familiarity - its human face, ten fingers and forty-six chromosomes - makes it quite possible to disregard. The light of the world shines in our darkness and we overlook it. The Word became flesh and moved into our neighbourhood and we treat it like any other neighbour: with polite inattention. We have learned to not be too inquisitive, to limit our hospitality to the surface so all we see is our own lives mirrored back. We are so easily bored with ourselves that when one comes who is flesh like us, we assume he too is boring.

Have you looked again at your neighbour? Are they worth a second look? Have you written yourself off? If the light that enlightens everyone became flesh like us, can we afford to ignore one another?

If we are not to be bored with ourselves, we have to learn to look at Jesus in such a way that we can say with the Evangelist: "we have seen his glory" (John 1.14). If we open our eyes, beware, the glare may be dazzling.
Jesus said, "I have come into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind."             - John 9.39
Eight points for guessing the English city in the picture.