God and slugs

Christmas 2015

Some thoughts

Marian Free

 In the name of God who could chose to be anything and yet chose to become one of, one with us. Amen.

 From time to time, I dip into a collection of daily readings that uses the writings of C.S. Lewis[1]. Recently, in the readings for December, I came across this statement: “The Eternal being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a foetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab[2].” I have to admit, that as much as I have pondered the nature of the Incarnation, I had never grasped the enormity of God’s decision as clearly. Lewis’s comparison really puts the concept of the Incarnation into perspective. In fact, as I absorbed the new point of view, it occurred to me that the difference between divinity and humanity is so vast that even Lewis’s distinction may not be sufficient to capture the chasm that exists. In fact it is almost certainly impossible to come up with an image that does the notion justice, but it might be more useful to consider our becoming an amoeba, a mould or some other microscopic life form.

It is beyond imagining that a human being would voluntarily trade their human form for something so base and so insignificant as a single-celled organism. Is there any circumstance under which a human being would make that choice? Is it conceivable that there would be a situation that would draw out the sort of love and compassion that would compel a person to make such a radical sacrifice?

I suspect that there is no way that any one of us would willingly choose to give up our independence, our rational thought, our self-determination. There is no imaginable state of affairs that would cause us to make a choice that would leave us completely at the mercy of the elements, adrift in the world with no power to change our position or to influence the direction that our lives might take. Human beings can and do make enormous sacrifices for others, but it is hard to imagine any human being giving up their humanness for any cause whatsoever.

Yet, God, the source of life and love, God who could and can do anything, who could choose to be anything at all and who could determine any number of ways to save the world, made the choice to fully and completely enter our existence. There were no half measures. God did not appear to become human. Jesus was not merely similar to us. God took on human flesh with all its frailty. God abandoned power and glory, imperishability and immortality to fully enter the human race. In so doing, God exposed Godself to all the indignities associated with being human. God sentenced Godself to all the restrictions, all the limitations of the human form – the spewing, mewling, incontinent state of infancy and old age, the vulnerability to disease and accident, the risk of being emotionally abused or abandoned.

We cannot come close to envisaging the cost of God’s abandoning the glories of Paradise for the uncomfortable realities of life on this planet. We cannot take lightly God’s love, commitment and compassion for the human race.

This is what the Incarnation, what Christmas is all about. God’s desire that we should be saved that is so powerful and so overwhelming, that what to us is an unimaginable decision becomes a realistic solution. God could see no other way to demonstrate God’s love and to bring us to our senses than to share our existence and to show us our real potential. I have no desire to become an amoeba or even a slug, but I will for this life and the next be overawed and filled with gratitude that God should love so much that God would become one of us.

 

Christmas 2015

Family service

If you could be anything at all when you grow up, what would it be?

(Take responses and comment – something like there are some pretty ambitious and amazing goals there. I hope that you work hard enough to make them a reality. If there are no outrageous comments, mention some that came up at our grandson’s Kindy graduation – princess, batman, Prime Minister)

God can do or be anything that God wants, and what did God decide to be? (Wait for answers or simply provide the answer.) Yes, God decided to be a baby. God could be anything at all, and yet God became a baby – a baby that cries, that needs its nappy changed, that throws up after it is fed. Yuk! Why would God want to become a baby? Why? Because God loves us so much, that God will do anything to get our attention. Why? Because God knew that we wouldn’t really trust God unless God became like us and that if God was to become like us, then God had to be just like us – starting as a baby. Why? Because God knows that everyone loves a baby and God hoped that if we loved the baby, we might learn to love God.

So Christmas is all about the baby, and the baby is all about love – God’s love for us that is bigger than anything we can begin to imagine.

God loves us, and hopes that we will learn to love God.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] In C.S. Lewis. The Business of Heaven. Ed Walter Hooper. Great Britain: Fount Paperbacks, 1984.

[2] op cit 300.

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