Jesus lived two thousand years ago and was called Christ. So, it seems clear that we could infer things about Christ from Jesus.
Who was Jesus without the trappings of doctrine attached? Jesus spent a lot of time walking, eating, talking, and teaching. Jesus also offered healing and forgiveness to those who came to him. Jesus was a Jewish teacher who lived and preached a message that was so radical that he was, ultimately, killed to try to stop it. History does not give us much more than that.
The blood of Jesus. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke begin with the blood-line of Jesus. Matthew ties Jesus to Judaism and Luke ties Jesus to Adam—thereby tying Jesus to all of humanity. The Gospels wanted the story to readJesus was human. When we speak of incarnation, we speak of the birth of God as a boy. That is an impossible statement. How can anyone hope to understand the incarnation?
The blood of Jesus, his pulse, his respiration, his living blood, were an expression of the salvific acts of the Divine. The incarnation, the enfleshment, the encorporation, made God into someone whose knee bled when he tripped and nose bled when he made his brother too mad. But how is God’s blood salvific if it is not dripping from a cross or a doorway?
I believe that when Jesus was born, surrounded by glory and straw, he became a marker for what already was and is and will be. God among us. God with us. God in and through us. Emmanuel. Jesus’s blood was not exchanged for guilt through sacrifice. Jesus’s blood coursed through his veins as a sign that God’s Kingdom was possible for the living.
When we read Genesis we read a sweeping story of the creative force of Love and the nature of God and humankind. There is palpable grace in the lines of these stories. One teller paints a picture of expanses of light and dark, of life bursting forth, of water cascading over the dry stones. Another teller gives shape to the story of us. Him, shaped out of the dust, her, brought from his body, and God, together in a garden. There is a rule that is broken, and there is separation. Man from Woman, humans from God, everyone from the Garden.
Whatever separates is sin. Whatever connects is grace.
We know that story.
But what if we told a different story?
What can wash away my sin? What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood, the life, the incarnation of God.
What is the incarnation of God? The Christ.
In the Gospels we see that Jesus devoted much of his time teaching to creating a new paradigm for the Kingdom of God. He kept saying that the Kingdom was coming and that many would live to see it come and that is was like very small things. Mustard seeds, yeast, children.
I do not claim to know what Jesus meant, but I think he meant that he, Jesus, was the enfleshed Christ and we can be too.
We can be too.
Through the Christ, the embodiment of love and compassion, any movement toward compassion for self or others is a salvific act of reconnection with the Divine Christ present and working in the world.
What makes us whole is the incarnating Christ.
This is slightly adapted from Andrea Lingle’s upcoming book, Into the Abundant Deep: A Credulous Journey of Faith, due to be released spring of 2018.
Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:
Throughout Advent, the Invitation to Missional Mindfulness will be taken from the Advent Incarnate Incarnational Group Guide:
- In what ways did you experience or observe God’s presence over
- the last week?
- In what ways did you feel distant from God this past week?
- How would you like to grow in your relationship with God this next