Happy Monday, Folks!
This week I’m continuing my series on the Nicene Creed. The next line in the creed is: “Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made fully human.”
During high school I had the opportunity to attend a short youth summer retreat at the University of Notre Dame. For five days several hundred Catholic kids attended sessions on faith, spirituality, and vocation and had the chance to pray with our new friends from all over the United States. During this retreat I met a young church musician named Danielle Rose. A graduate of Notre Dame who had worked in Calcutta, India, with Mother Teresa, she had an amazing voice, and her lyrical poetry expressed the kind of faith that many of us had, but weren’t able yet to put into words. A few years later she put out an album exploring some of the most enduring and problematic moments in the Bible including God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice his son and Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth when they both were pregnant. Though my faith and theology would develop and change, Danielle’s work reframed these stories in ways that I could understand their deeper meanings and recognize in them truth I had missed.
The Bible has been a source of radical hope for people living under the tyranny of slavery and persecution while simultaneously being used to support that persecution and slavery. The Bible has been used to support racism and homophobia while also being used to support liberation. In this field of conflicted use and abuse of a relatively short book (which is actually a collection of short books), we can’t help but lose the radical nature of Biblical truth. Jesus—one with God and God themselves—became a human, lived as a human, and ultimately died as a human. This is the truth of the incarnation.
I challenge you to find a story in the Bible which challenged you or still challenges you. Read it again. What is the deeper truth? How do you understand the passage now?
Let us pray: God, open our hearts to know you in the truth of the Gospel. Help us deconstruct and set aside the pain and the evil in which your word has been drenched. Let us see you and your message of love in the story of salvation which you began, you brought to fulfillment in Jesus, and which you continue to this day. We ask this through your Son who became like us that he might save us. Amen.
Blessings, friends, on your week! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.