Thursday, December 5, 2013

Advent prayer

Advent is a season of yearning not only for the birth of a Savior, but also the return of the King.

In this season I do a lot of reading, searching for faithful ways to share the old, old story of God's mercy, love and grace.  It still blows my mind that God chose to come to earth as a baby, of all things, to teach us about His will for our lives (love God, love one another), to redeem the world and to invite us to journey in His footsteps as disciples of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit.

I came across this gem from CS Lewis in a daily devotion, from a collection of his works called "The Business of Heaven.  It is a rather lengthy quote from Mere Christianity, but worthy of consideration.  There are many folks my age (49 and holding) who worry about what is happening to their church and why so many have turned away from the faith.  There is also a lack of civil discourse about many things these days which paints Christians as hateful or narrow-minded folk, and this deeply saddens me as well.

Lewis begins by talking about how God chose to come as a man - a simple man, and yet this flesh and blood man was very different...and his presence made all the difference in the world.

"What, then, is the difference which He has made to the whole human mass?  It is just this; that the business of becoming a Son of God, of being turned from a created thing into a begotten thing, of passing over from the temporary biological life into timeless 'spiritual' life, has been done for us.  Humanity is already 'saved' in principle.  We individuals have to appropriate that salvation.  But the really tough work - the bit we could not have done for ourselves - has been done for us.  We have not got to try to climb up into spiritual life by our own efforts; it has already come down into the human race.  If we will only lay ourselves open to the one Man in whom it was fully present, and who, in spite of being God, is also a real man, He will do it in us and for of our own race as this new life.  If we get close to Him we shall catch it from Him.

Of course, you can express this in all sorts of different ways.  You can say that Christ died for our sins.  You may say that the Father has forgiven us because Christ as done for us what we ought to have done.  You may say that we are washed in the blood of the Lamb.  You may say that Christ defeated death.  They are all true.  If any of them does not appeal to you, leave it alone and get on with the formula that does.  And, whatever you do, do not start quarreling with other people because they use a different formula from yours."  (Mere Christianity, Bk IV, Ch5) (emphasis added)

Brilliant!  Simply Brilliant!!  And I say brilliant because of its simplicity.  Why do we seem to make things so difficult for ourselves, let alone others who yearn for something more, but have trouble wrapping their minds around images and words that seem dated or violent for that matter?

This has given me pause in the midst of this busy time of year.  My Advent prayer and my New Years resolution is to help folks find their formula and live into the fullness of the gift of God's love, mercy and grace.  Won't you join me?

in Christ, together,