Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Cry of Christmas

All that we know is changed and transformed by the coming of Jesus into the world.  That God is made flesh turns our whole world upside down and challenges who we believe God to be and what we believe God should be like. 

As God made flesh is born he sucks in His first breath and releases a cry into the darkness.

The cry of this newborn Jesus is the cry of God into the darkness and brokenness of our world.  It is a cry that screams at the injustice, oppression and suffering of our wounded world.  It is a cry that longs for the weak, vulnerable and downtrodden to know that God has not forgotten them.  It is a cry that shares in the suffering of humanity.  It is a cry that exposes how weak and vulnerable we are.  And the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the One in and through whom all things find their being, shares in that weakness and vulnerability crying out into the darkness and cold of that first Christmas night.

Jesus is born into the danger of an unforgiving world, his life threatened from the moment He is conceived, from the moment He draws His first breath.  

The stench of the stable filling his newborn nose nothing compared to the stench of the violence Herod would inflict upon the children of Bethlehem.   

The splintered wood of the manger echoing the Cross that one day will hang of his back.  

Songs of joy bursting forth in the Temple at the sight of this newborn King, in stark contrast to the violent jeers at this same now thorn-crowned King who stumbles through the streets of Jerusalem.  

Angels declare the birth of the Saviour and will one day announce this Saviour’s resurrection.  

The oppressed and abused shepherds hurry to this Saviour just for a glimpse, and they, like many after them, will spread the news of this God made flesh.  

Foreign magicians carrying gifts, strangers to the promises of Israel, fall to their knees and worship Immanuel, God with us, just as lepers and prostitutes will fall in worship at the gift of new life they are given by God being with them. 

And so this Christmas we celebrate that God is with us.  We hear the cry once again of Jesus as a newborn, his cry on the Cross and his cry of resurrection victory and we, in hearing His cry, we can be assured that this God who is with us will heal the broken-hearted and bind up our wounds.  We can have hope that He will transform the stench of violence into the fragrance of peace that covers the whole earth.  We can celebrate that this God made flesh has the victory over sin and death and is ushering in a new dawn when all will be well.

This victorious God is the one who lies weak and vulnerable in the manger and on the cross.  And this God calls us once again to himself this Christmas to follow him.  To follow Him is to be like Him, not seeking power and fame, but to be weak and vulnerable as He, surrendered to His will.  It is a calling to share our lives together, vulnerable and honest.  It is a calling to go to the oppressed and outcasts, the stranger and the outsider with the love of God.  And just as the angels declared His birth and resurrection, so we go and invite others to know this God made flesh for themselves. 

God cries out once again this Christmas beckoning the world to Himself.  May we together join with His cry of salvation to this world that was made by Him.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I'm Sorry...

I have a confession to make.

I am really sorry.  I'm not sure what came over me, but I need to share with you what happened.  I hope you won't think any less of me, but...

I watched God TV last night.

I know it was wrong and that I shouldn't of done it.  Maybe it was because I was tired and I let temptation get the better of me.  I'm not sure.

I know that it isn't a true picture of what God is like.  I know that they are showing me something false and unhealthy.  I know it is full of lies and propaganda, but I just felt myself drawn in by the sheer absurdity of it all.

I mean when you hear preachers telling you to 'sow a seed of $1000' so that you can release the currency of heaven, you know it's ridiculous, but you can't help but keep watching. What is the currency of heaven anyway?  Does Jesus take Mastercard or is it cash only?

When they tell you Jesus is going to lay down some serious butt-kicking against anyone who stands against the place of Israel, you think you're watching a Hollywood film.  Picture it, 'Are you ready for the Master?' said in a deep manly voice with pictures of floating people going up to heaven for the Rapture, demons fighting angels, and God laying some WWE type smackdown. You know it hasn't got anything to do with the Bible, but we like films, don't we?

When they are talking about demons mating with humans and creating demon/human hybrids that are walking the earth right now becoming an army for Satan ready to lay down some serious Armageddon, you're spitting your tea out in laughter, but you keep watching.

I hope you'll all forgive me for my sin.

My worry is that people watch this and believe it is what God is like.  My worry is that people watch this and allow their theology to be decided by it.  My worry is that people watch this and stop thinking.

Lord, have mercy...