Pastoral Articles

THE WORD MADE FLESH

We praise God for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is because the incarnation is the core Christian belief.

The incarnation has invested humanity with the greatest possible significance. In Jesus Christ we recover what we human beings have lost.  We are given this quite independently of whether we deserve it or not.   It is God’s gift.   This means that when we are upset by our failures or the behaviour of others, what we need to do is to think of the example Christ has set us.

Because Jesus became a human being, a stupendous fact follows.  All of us are Jesus’ brothers and sisters.  What this means is that we should view and value one another for their own sake and not in terms of what they possess or how they look, but because of the fact that they are related to Jesus Christ and therefore to one another.  Our relations are important to us, and what could be more important than being related to Jesus Christ and therefore to one another.

Since we are related to one another because Jesus became one of us, this means that every one of us should be respected and valued quite apart from whether we happen to be Christians or not. All of us have an affinity, a fundamental relationship.  It is a unity that transcends race, religion and gender.

Many of us live next to people of a different religion, or no religion whatsoever.  We are often the best of neighbours. We experience our common humanity every day.

In a world where human beings are too often degraded and dehumanized, we desperately need to defend our humanity.  Consumerism works relentlessly to make us think that we are defined by taste and style.  It wants us to believe that we are what we own, so that the more we own the more important we are.  It is backed by powerful commercial interests.  It employs  coercion in its incessant attempt to brainwash us. First, it was the commodifying of goods and services. Now, it is persons who are turned into commodities. This is how we are encouraged to see ourselves, and I don’t have to tell you that at the top of the list is sex.

Don’t think that it is me the preacher having a go at social trends.  It is Jeremy Rifkin, professor at the Wharton  School of Executive Education.  He says ” Think of waking up one morning to find that every aspect of your being is purchasable, that your life has become the ultimate shopping experience.”

We need to be vigilant and defend our essential nature, especially when social trends, programmes or ideologies threaten to undermine it.  The incarnation of Jesus Christ has invested us with our God-given character.  All we do should acknowledge this, give thanks for it, and promote it in every possible way.

Let us give thanks for the word made flesh.

Jack