Friday Scripture - He will be called the Son of the Most High
Friday Quote - Dietrich Bonhoeffer - any attack even on the least of men is an attack on Christ, who took the form of man, and in his own Person restored the image of God in all that bears a human form.
Friday Thought -
Many of us perhaps do not pause during the Advent or Christmas season to ponder the Incarnation. It isn't a word that we use often, and I confess I rarely use it even in sermons. It refers quite simply, to the fact that we believe that Jesus was God in the flesh, as a human. Incarnate means, in the flesh. So God is no longer only a concept, an idea, far off and apart from creation. God is now an intimate part of creation, connected to humanity. You can probably tell why I rarely mention all this. It sounds highly technical and jargony, the kind of thing pastors talk about over dinner or at meetings and conferences. What does it matter to us in our everyday lives?
Once again this week, Bonhoeffer gives us guidance. It isn't the concept of incarnation itself that matters. It is what Jesus did as the incarnation of God that matters. And we have already talked about that this week. Jesus was the incarnation of God attending to those of humble estate. Jesus embodied that, as we said yesterday. The Incarnation doesn't simply what Jesus was and continues to be, but also what Jesus did. He 'restored the image of God in all that bears a human form,' particularly at the table where all were welcomed, fed, healed, confronted, restored, and dignified. By no longer calling us to reach God and instead, joining with us, becoming one of us, God is restoring the divine image we bear.
Finally, Bonhoeffer reveals the truest importance of this concept. 'any attack on the least of men is an attack on Christ.' By becoming human as one of the occupied, the oppressed, the exploited and abused, God is restoring the dignity of all humanity. In Jesus, born as one of 'the least of these' God became human, God was incarnate. So all words and actions, systems and traditions that divide humanity up into worthy of God or unworthy, worthy of dignity or not worthy, deny the incarnation. They reject God's gracious gift of joining with us to restore the image of God. But, if what Bonhoeffer says is true, then all the ways that we support, encourage and welcome others; through feeding, comforting, accepting, and clothing are celebrations not only of the dignity of each served but celebrations of the Incarnation, restoring the image of God in each person.
Friday Explore - John 1:1-14
Friday Prayer - It is a mystery, God always beyond us yet calling us forward, how it is that the Divine could be human. But it is a mystery in the best sense for it awakens our hearts to compassion and our minds to dignity. Because of the Incarnation you are always ahead beckoning to us and beside us guarding and guiding. So we humbly accept the risk of celebrating your Incarnation through welcoming and dignifying every person you bring into our lives. We celebrate your incarnation through bridging gaps and building relationships and drawing closer to one another, as you did to us on that night so long ago in Bethlehem.