Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dan Simmons will be writing about RFK!

The incarnation

I was to give a sermon tomorrow, now my services are no longer needed, but I'm left with innitial ruminations about the Incarnation. If nothing else my faithful readers (hi mom!) can at least take a look.

John 1:1-5,14

Does anyone know what day it is?
It is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the season in which we prepare for Christmas, for the incarnation. We prepare for the birth of Jesus. We prepare to be shock that Mary and Joseph had no room at the inn. We prepare like the wise men for a journey to Bethlehem to visit baby Jesus. We prepare for the birth of our savior.
And yet I read to you from the start of the book of John. There is no crib there, no Mary, no Joseph, no wise men from the east. Why the heck am I choosing to read this to you? What does it have to do with Advent? Maybe if I read it again we can find a connection between it and Christmas. (1:1-5,14).
This is a very philosophical. It is concerned with telling us something very profound about the way the world works. Yet, I fear, because the Gospel of John was written nearly two millennia ago we may no longer have a firm grasp on what is being said here.
Now as you guys may remember since last working as a volunteer here at St. Mark’s I’ve went off to Cambridge to do a Master’s Degree. One of the things that I do in Cambridge is travel back in time. I don’t have a time machine anything like that, just stacks and stacks of old books. When I and others go back in time we often do so in search of what the Germans call a “sitz im leben” (setting in life-translate?). I think to understand John 1 we need to understand how people back then thought. (1:1-5 LOGOS)
In ancient times the Logos, what we translate as Word, meant more than a collection of letters written down on a page. To the ancients Logos was the plans that God used to create with, it was his blueprint, his design for the universe; it was God’s thoughts and will put to paper. If life is a play the Logos is the script. If life is a song it is the sheet music.
But the Logos was not only that, it was also the master builder and architect. In other words the Logos not only was God’s plan for the world, but it also carried out God’s plan! The Logos was in some way God’s actions! It was the Logos that allowed the universe to function. The Logos was not only the script of the play but also the actions of the characters in the play; the Logos was not only the sheet music, but also the music itself.
So when this Gospel was first heard it made good sense.
The Logos was in the beginning. /// Of course it was in the beginning, there can’t be a beginning without directions as to how to begin!
The Logos was with God. /// Of course it was with God, it was God’s sheet music.
The Logos was God. /// Of course it was God, it was God in the act of creating.
Everything was made through the Logos /// Of course everything was made through it, it was the blueprint for all things.
The Logos was life /// Of course it was life, it was the act of living, the act of creation, the act of being alive.
The Logos was the light of men /// Of course it was the light of men, man can not be animate, man can not be man, without it!
The Logos will not be overcome /// Of course it won’t be overcome, what can stand up to God’s plan? What isn’t part of God’s plan?
So you can see the Gospel of John would have made good sense to a person living when it was written. They would have had no problems with his understanding of Logos. That is until (John) writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” This is where the ancient reader is surprised. This, this is new! This isn’t something the Logos does. John has just plucked this very philosophical concept out of the world of ideas and grounded it in reality! (John) is telling us that this Logos became incarnate.
Now, terms like Incarnate and “the Incarnation” are churchy words you may hear a lot at this time of year. It simply means in- Carne. Carne means flesh. So, John is saying that the Logos has become enfleshed, it has come “in the flesh.”
This is a startling claim for him to make. He is saying God’s plan can be seen in a physical and real way in a particular person. He’s saying in this person light and life can be found. He is saying God God’s-self has become flesh in a particular time and in a particular place. And he is saying that this person, though in the flesh, will not be overcome. Jesus Christ is the Logos made flesh. And that is what we celebrate on Christmas. We celebrating that Logos and Incarnation have come together in the person of Jesus Christ. A+A

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Birthday Meme

Birthday Meme
Via Sinning Boldly

The Rules:
1) Go to Wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)

Three Events:
1. Saladin began his siege of Jerusalem in 1187
2. A Holocaust occurs in Letychiv, Ukraine. 3,000+ Jews murdered in two days. 1942.
3. President Bush delivers his “Freedom at War with Fear” speech to a joint session of congress in 2001.

1599 - Christian the Younger, German protestant military leader (d. 1623)
1878 - Upton Sinclair, American writer (d. 1968)

One Death:
2005 - Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian-Polish Nazi hunter (b. 1908)

“Holiday or observance”:
The seventh day of the Eleusinian Mysteries, when the secret rites in the Telesterion begins.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ELCA brings European Americans to the fore

Don't know what to think about this, it seems redundant.
I'm giving a presentation on how Job shouldn't be labled Wisdom Literature later today.