Sunday, December 29, 2013

Overcoming the World

I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.  --John 16:33 (ESV)
God did a unique thing for us at Christmas that gets lost in our celebrations often.  It was not that Wise Kings from the East brought gifts and gave us the practice of exchanging gifts.  It was not that Angels sang and gave us Christmas Carols.  It was not that we over stuff ourselves on every kind of rich food and inch our midsections toward heart disease -- just where did THAT come from?  What God did that was unique was to enter into the birthing process and take on flesh exactly like every single person on the planet who has ever lived.  God joined with human flesh and blood to see the world through our eyes and understand us a bit better and deeper.  God cared that much that God came to visit us in how we live.  Through this joining God experienced sadness, grief, anger, accomplishment, and defeat.  Through God in Christ we can know that God gets us.

Do we get God?  It would be impossible for us to pull off what God did in reverse.  We obviously can not become God, but we can take on the Christ.  By spending time soaking up the words of the Gospels about Jesus' life we gain insights into how God operates in human form.  God clearly strives to bring us peace.  God clearly strives to overcome the world filled with tribulation and strife.  The God nature through Jesus shone a light on a different way to be human that was grounded in peace, compassion, and healing.  That we have a God-living-through-human example should inspire us in our quest to experience God living through us.  It may begin in your gospel reading.  It might continue in partaking of the elements of Holy Communion.  It might expand when we reach beyond the focus on our needs to helping those at the margins with their needs.  Perhaps when Jesus says, "Take heart, I have overcome the world," he means that we can also overcome the world?  If so, then what is stopping you?  Read, pray, serve -- and stop worrying over the tribulations.

Dear God, there are many troubles all around but you know what that's like, don't you?  In awe and gratitude we give thanks for how you overcome them all and  for handing us unity with you.  Amen. 

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