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Sunday, June 11, 2017

The puzzling thing about incarnation

I worshipped today at the Lutheran church of the Redeemer here in Jerusalem.  The opening confession had these words:  "O god, even as we celebrate our unity, we know that sometimes we forget the beauty of your three persons.  We hold to your transcendent life as creator and keep at a distance the challenges of Christ.  We bow before your glory and keep your humanness away from the reality of our own lives."

It seems to me that this is one of the great wonders of the Christian faith.  We take seriously that Christ was born, incarnate into the mess of humanity.  That somehow this mess is blessed by God and is even "good" as it crossed the threshold of creation.   But people are irritating.  We don't always love one another as we should.  We don't always act noble and there are times when we willingly and knowingly allow ourselves to rationalize all kinds of wrongs, if not down right evils.

I've come to realize that this is one of the reasons why I like the Holy Sepulchre so much.  It's because it is utterly divine and so painfully human at the same time!  Standing reverently
to touch the hill of Golgotha where Jesus was crucified and died; people are pushing and cutting in line and quite frankly ticking me off!  So many seem to have no reverence for the place and no appreciation for the faith.  I'm looking for a spiritual experience and they seem to be on more of a field trip.  And then it hits me....Christ died for them!  For me!!  For this unfaithful, selfish lot we call humanity.  Christianity is not a retreat from the mess; but a reminder that God loves it, and there is good in the midst of it.  Even with our inevitable patterns of sin and brokenness.  God still comes to us each and every day!

I of course come to the Sepulchre as often as I can, but during this season I come especially not to touch the hill of Golgotha or go to the tomb; but to look at the ladder.   You see in 1852 there was so much fighting and bickering among Christians in the Holy Land that the law of Status Quo was
put into effect.  It states that nothing can change from how it was in 1852. So what ever you were allowed to do in 1852, what ever boundaries there were---they have to be the same today.  That's why it takes minor miracles to get anything done in the Sepulcher.  Well in 1852 the Franciscans were allowed to have a ladder in place behind the stone of purification for a hundred days or so from Easter onward
See the ladder to the left?

Here's a better view from up top!!  It's there
because it CAN BE BY GOD!
.  So...BY GOD...they put a ladder back in that place every Easter.  Not because they need it, but because THEY CAN!!!  And no one is going to take away their right to have a ladder there.  So, every time I walk in....I look at that ladder and chuckle.  Yes, even for such stupidity s this...Jesus came.   We are a strange people.  Stubborn and stiff necked just as the Bible claims.  Yet God still loves us all!   Keep those ladders up....by God!

1 comment:

  1. This was a wonderful read. Thank you for sharing these insightful moments and musings!

    ReplyDelete