Tuesday, December 23, 2008

high school chapel - content part 1

This is a brief, high level version of the talk I gave, without all the antics appropriate for high school, and probably with a bit more mature language.

Who am I?
I am a combination for three parts:

Nerd, Christian leader, and social-activist hippie.

The topic is the incarnation, specifically what our response to the incarnation should or might be.
When we talk about the incarnation, I think we have to start with John 1. So what's going on here? We've got stuff about words, God, creation, maybe Jesus?
First, it shouldn't surprise us that words and creation are linked in this passage. Think back to the beginning. How did God create? [At this point, I was able to reference the lyrics to this song, which we had just sung, to get them to answer the question]. God spoke, then things started to happen. This tells us something significant about words. Words were not created with creation. They preexisted. They're eternal.
Keep that in mind while we go back to John 1. It's also interesting to not the Greek word translated "Word." It's "Logos." To the Greek philosophers, this word [logos] had a connotation of being the soul of the world, the essence of the creation.
Let's connect the dots. God speaks his eternal Word, which is in some way Jesus, which then accomplishes the creation and in a sense becomes the essence, the essential piece, the soul of that creation.
Now here's the crazy thing. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." That's the incarnation.
Of course, all of that is a bit mysterious and magical, and I probably sound like I'm Buddhist when I start saying things like 'the soul of the world.' So, here's an image which has helped me put feet on the reality of the incarnation. [At this point there were like 6 students who knew who knew Tolkien by his picture, which made my heart happy. I used this Author/character image (with Tolkien and Frodo instead of Hamlet/Shakespeare) to help us relate to Creator becoming creation.] What's more amazing, is the manner in which our Author wrote himself into our story. He wasn't some super-human, hero figure. He came humbly. He gave up a lot. He was pretty normal:
he worked
he partied
he had friends
he loved his momma
he studied and debated
he paid his taxes
he observed the law
and he defended his Father's house (with a whip)
And that's not all.
Hebrews 4 says he was tempted in every way, just as we are. That is the beauty of the incarnation.
But despite all those normal man things, Jesus wasn't just a man, either. He was a bit abnormal. Check out the rest of the verse. He was tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. That is the beauty of the cross. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.
I'm here to ask the question, "How do we respond?" And after all this, I think our first response is pretty obvious.

Response #1: Worship.
Worship must be our first response to the incarnation. It was the immediate response of the shepherds, the magi, the angels. We stand in awe and worship the Creator who became creation, that the Logos might be our Lord.

Response #2: Be like Jesus.

More on that in the next post.

HT: Ortiz, Slippey

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