I was invited to a speaking gig locally this week at a Christmas play, but when the powers that be found out I wasn’t a part of “their religious tribe,” my invitation was declined. I understand their concern to protect their image, etc., but my issue lies in the fact that the church is divided. I hate this. I was going to talk about the significance of the coming of Jesus. How different is this great truth across the Christian landscape? Apparently because of “affiliation,” with a different “tribe,” I am a liability, a loose canon. How can you control someone you don’t believe exactly alike?
Maybe that is one of the larger issues? Control.
Churches divide over various issues, historically, and recently too. Why, because someone’s understanding of the Scriptures is different. Or better translated, I want to control how we as a group understand and apply this book.
Shame on us all!
I may not be a member of the religious tribe of the place I was invited, but I am a Christian. I think that they would consider themselves too. I am stumbling follower of Jesus. Do I do everything right, nope! Do I believe I am trying to follow Christ the best I can in a community of similar-minded imperfect people? Absolutely.
So, why I won’t be going to the aforementioned speaking gig, one thing is certain the coming of Jesus and his story is still the most significant historical event ever. Israel lived with centuries of oppression, yet their hope was in Yahweh’s promise to never abandon them. Not once in Israel’s history did God abandon them. Every detail of their past was moving the grand plot forward. From wilderness to the exile to silent years between Malachi and Matthew, God was advancing his redemptive plan and when His time was right an angel arrives in Palestine and tells a teenage girl that God was about to do something new, something transformative, something dangerous, and something scandalous. Mary, the Jewish teenager, descended from David would somehow carry the seed of God in her womb. God could have conquered invading armies, he had done it before a lot and in awesome ways in Israel’s past (The Red Sea, the walls of Jericho, the hidden angel armies in the sky that Elisha’s servant saw, etc.) but instead of power and prestige, God will become a man. God will become a baby. Weak and helpless. Dependent on the care of his parents. The Majesty of heaven, would need his diapers changed and need to be burped. It is ridiculous and wonderful, and yet God still comes. When Israel, or should I say when the world needed him the most he puts on human flesh and comes to be present with his people. The joy of Christmas is that God comes when we need him the most.
The beauty of the Good News that is for all people, is that God still comes when we need Him!