Sunday, November 03, 2002

Word of God: Bible, Jesus

BUT THE BIBLE [AND JESUS!] REVEAL GOD'S PRESENCE incarnate in our midst: 'God among us; God within us!' In the ark of the covenant, tabernacle & temple the sign of God's presence was physical and tangible – 'sensible' [Westminster Catechism] but its revelation was static, unmoving & iconic and therefore an imperfect representation of the God of the Bible we know as dynamic, free & elusive. And those artifacts eventually led to a return of the imperial religion of Egypt, as well. The 'God-Spell' is not that eventually we will live with God but rather that God lives with us! Here and now! The 'SCANDAL' of the Gospel is a Holy God who condescends to live and die as one of us, a Transcendent Other revealed and revealed over and over again in common, ordinary, everyday 'sensible' things – as common as water, bread & wine; as common as the neighbor next door. As common as US!!! Just as Jesus was a living, breathing, moving revelation of God, so are we! In baptism we are called to be and to show salvation to one another and especially to the stranger in our midst. The salvation/wholeness/healing we bring is a redemption, a 'buying back' of ourselves to ourselves, to one another and to our Creator; a 'redeeming' that lives and moves and breathes and changes with every human need. Just as God's primary passion is response to human need, that becomes our primary passion – our baptism makes our response in grace and freedom possible and 'sensibly' apparent. The ark, tabernacle and temple can be seen as imperfect 'types' of Christ, therefore as imperfect representations of God, but Jesus himself lived – and died – as a perfect representation [I used to say 'ultimate & definitive manifestation' but haven't used that phrase for a long time] of the loving, merciful, free and elusive God who responds not to our attempts to contain God for our own edification ['imperial religion'] but instead responds to our need, to the world's need for redemption and sanctification and for 'holiness.' Does this work for you? My point is, despite the Christ Event, we still live in a fallen world. Our call, our ministry is the reconciliation of the world to itself and to its Creator. 'God...sets before us the ways of life & death.' In other words, the ministry is in our living and in our lives: this is Pentecost, we're 'clothed with Power from on High;'the ball's in our court now.