Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Incarnational Journey Begins Now

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  -- Romans 13:11 (ESVUK)
Time is.  Time is not will be, because we don't know for absolute certain what our future holds or that we won't meet our end in the next minute.  Time is not was, because that can never happen again and persists only as a memory (if at all!)  The present moment is all we have.  This is the root nature of Incarnation - it is now. It is the Divine Present if we are aware.

The irony of Advent is that it is a preparation time leading to Christmas, as though all earth is waiting for Incarnation.  The suggestion of preparation implies a future that we are a building toward rather than knowing that what we do, pray, and think now folds into and manifests the future.  Perhaps I should define incarnation.  Simply, it is the physical manifestation of Divine Love, which can be seen all around us if we simply pick up our awareness and look.  I think what is meant by "salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed" is that Emanuel (God with us) doesn't need to be hoped for or even expected.  Rather, Incarnation is unfolding moment by moment whether we include ourselves in it or not.  The moment of Incarnation consciously is that moment we see ourselves as an intricate part of the indwelling Love that holds the universe intact. Incarnation is the looping of all time into the present.  We eat, interact, love, worship -- and are saved -- all only in the present moment, in this time, in this hour.  We miss it only by choosing to step outside it and put ourselves - our needs, our desires, our self-pity, our self-centered importance -- anywhere but in God's flowing love and wholeness. It's always nearer than we believe!

O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.*  Amen.

Actionable Suggestions

  1. Be thoughtfully present for ways you can tangibly lift someone else's spirits today -  a smile, a kind word, a donation.
  2. Send 3 Christmas cards addressed to a local nursing home addressed to "One Who Needs Their Spirits Raised."
  3. Make up a few bags with some gloves, a hat, some protein bars, a bottle of water... and hand them out to homeless people at intersections.  (The Dollar Store may have other items you might discover as being helpful.)
Make Incarnation real today!

* United Methodist Hymnal, c. 1989; "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go."  Words by George Matheson, 1882.

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